The Swine Flu: What You Should Know!

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The orthomyxovirus, H1N1, globally known as the swine flu, has caused immediate concerns here in the U.S. and abroad. The swine flu has claimed the lives of 150 persons and infected more than 2,000 in Mexico. Five states have reported swine flu cases, with New York leading with 28 incidents. The CDC stated late Monday that there are 48 total cases of swine flu in the U.S. Worldwide, 70 incidents of swine flu have been reported with 6 in Canada, 1 in Spain, and 2 in Scotland.

The CDC raised the alert level to six for full blown pandemic. Yet the World Health Organization, WHO, issued a phase 4 which signifies that the swine flu is “increasingly adept at spreading among humans.” The swine flu, which originates among pigs, is a virus that can be sustained in humans and animals, with various mutations. Transmission is thought to occur from humans who work with infected pigs.

Symptoms of swine flu can be similar to the common flu. But the CDC warns that the following symptoms could be linked to a case of the deadly virus and should be taken seriously: a temperature of 100.2 and above, lethargy, lack of appetite, runny nose, coughing (non productive), sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Those who fall ill to the swine flu are most contagious during the first five days. Children remain contagious up to 10 days.

WHO and the CDC both agree that avoidance of sick persons, a strict hygienic regimen with use of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers, coughing into tissue or the crook of the elbow, along with canceling any travel plans to Mexico, is the surest way to keep from being infected with the virus.

Surgical or medical face masks are useless health officials say. The virus enters the body through the mouth. Frequent hand washing is suggested before hands touch the face, mouth or eyes.

President Barack Obama said Monday that the CDC is keeping him regularly updated as the crisis continues to unfold.

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