h1n1 precautions and some key suggestions

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What is swine flu?

•Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs.
•Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Is the current swine flu virus contagious?

•Various international agencies (US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization) have determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human.
•WHO has escalated the world Pandemic Phase from Phase 3 to Phase 4 (in a 6-scale Phase), indicating that a worldwide pandemic due to swine flu H1N1 is possible.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?

•The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
•Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people.

How does swine flu spread?

•Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads.
•Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.
•Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with live flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

How are human infections with swine influenza diagnosed?

•To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus).
•However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer.
•Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to a hospital laboratory for testing.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?

•Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick.
•That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?

•People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset.
•Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

Is there a vaccine for Pandemic Flu?

•Because the virus is new, there will be no vaccine ready to protect against pandemic flu.
•Vaccine against Swine Flu virus H1N1 needs at least 6-12 months to be produced.
•Seasonal flu vaccine or past flu immunization will not provide protection.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?

•Yes. The US CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) or zanamivir (Relenza®) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses.
•Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.
•If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?

•The virus can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with the virus and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
•Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. The virus can then be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, doorknob, child’s toy or phone handset and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands

How long can viruses live outside the body?

•We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.
•Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can spread this way.
•Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
•If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?

•Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner.
•When you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores.
•If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?

•If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
•If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
•If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs (next 2 slides), seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

•Fast breathing or trouble breathing
•Bluish skin color
•Not drinking enough fluids
•Not waking up or not interacting
•Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
•Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
•Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

•Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
•Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
•Sudden dizziness
•Confusion
•Severe or persistent vomiting

Household Cleaning, Laundry, and Waste Disposal

•Throw away tissues and other disposable items used by the sick person in the trash. Wash your hands after touching used tissues and similar waste.
•Keep surfaces (esp bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, children’s toys, phone handles, doorknobs) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
•Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
•Wash linens (such as bed sheets and towels) by using household laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. Avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating yourself. Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub right after handling dirty laundry.
•Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

More Knowledge on swineflu:

What is the new influenza A (H1N1) virus that has been causing recent outbreaks globally?

The recent outbreaks of disease in people globally are caused by a new influenza (or “flu”) type A (H1N1) virus. There is a human H5N1 virus circulating and causing seasonal influenza and in the past, very occasionally, H1N1 viruses from swine have infected humans. The specific type of the H1N1 virus causing illness now is new or “novel” and in the current outbreak it is clear that this virus is able to infect humans and be passed from person to person. Although part of the virus may have originated from pigs, there is no evidence that the current spread of infection is coming from that source.

How does the influenza A (H1N1) virus spread?

Spread of this new virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What should I do to keep from getting infected by the influenza A (H1N1) virus?

First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

What is a ‘pandemic’?

Influenza pandemics happen when a new human flu virus emerges and spreads rapidly across the globe because humans have no previous immunity against this virus.

Are we at risk of a pandemic?

No one can say whether or not the current situation would evolve into a severe pandemic. But whether it turns out to be a catastrophic health event or little more than a bad flu season, it is important to be prepared for the worst.

What can you do?

Prepare yourself and your family immediately for a possible pandemic. This includes gathering and storing emergency supplies and adopting habits that will reduce the chance of you or your family getting infected and spreading it to others (for example, washing hands regularly, covering nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and not spitting in public).What is the UN doing?UN organizations are working to educate and inform staff about the threat of a pandemic and how best to prepare for it. Departments and offices have prepared business continuity plans and decided which functions are to be considered “critical” during a pandemic. Non-critical functions may be suspended for a period. In the event of a severe pandemic, most staff will be requested to remain at home and follow the UN’s Medical Guidelines. Please also see the UN pandemic influenza website: www.un.org/staff/pandemic.

What is the difference between seasonal and pandemic influenza?

Are you At Risk?

Seasonal influenza

Everyone is at risk of getting seasonal influenza. It passes easily from person to person through droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. These droplets can pass directly into the nose, mouth or eyes of a person who is nearby (less than 1 meter, or 3 feet, away) or indirectly when a person touches surfaces that droplets have fallen onto and then touches his or her nose, mouth or eyes before washing hands. Crowded, indoor environments may promote the chances of such transmission, which may explain the increase in respiratory infections during the winter months.

Seasonal influenza can lead to complications and even death. Most complications occur in people aged 65 years and over or in people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart or lung disease and diabetes. Pregnant women, infants and very young children are also at increased risk of complications from influenza.The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates
that each year 3 million to 5 million people have severe cases of seasonal influenza worldwide, and 250,000 to 500,000 people die.

Pandemic Influenza
When a pandemic occurs, everyone will be at risk, not just frail or elderly people. Pandemic influenza passes from person to person just as easily and quickly as seasonal flu. But, unlike with seasonal flu, people will not be immune to this new virus, so more people will become infected. In addition, it is possible that even young and healthy people who do not normally suffer complications from seasonal flu may develop serious complications and even die in a pandemic.It is important to know, however, that the majority of people who will develop a flu-like illness in a pandemic will recover and develop immunity to the new human virus.

WHAT SHOULlD I KNOW ABOUT HUMAN INFLUENZA VIRUSES?
Things you should know about human influenza viruses:
• They spread through infected droplets from breathing passages.
• Droplets are expelled by talking, spitting, coughing, sneezing.
• The droplets spread about 1 meter (3 feet) from the infected person, either directly to other people or indirectly through hands and other surfaces.
• The viruses can live for several hours on hard surfaces, or on cloth and paper.
• If healthy people touch infected hands, doorknobs, keyboards, telephones, etc., they can infect themselves by touching mouths, noses or eyes.
• Sometimes the viruses can spread through the air.
• An infected person is most likely to spread the virus when he or she has fever and a cough.
• It is possible that an infected person will spread the virus a day before showing signs of illness.

HOW DO YOU KNOW HAVe INFLUENZA?

Seasonal Influenza:

• Fever
• Headache
• Aching muscles
• Exhaustion and feeling weak
• Loss of appetite
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Dry cough

Pandemic Influenza:

While the first symptoms of pandemic influenza might be similar to seasonal flu symptoms, how the symptoms develop will depend on the nature of the specific virus. It is likely that most people will recover without needing medical attention, but the following symptoms may help you decide if you need to seek medical help:

• Shortness of breath while resting or doing very little work
• Persistent fever for 4 or 5 days
• Painful or difficult breathing
• Coughing up a lot of phlegm or bloody sputum
• Wheezing
• You are feeling better and then you develop a new fever or worsening cough with sputum
• You feel very drowsy and others have difficulty waking you up or note you seem confused or disorientated

HOW DO YOU REDUCE YOUR RISK OF CONTRACTING INFLflUENZA?

Personal HygieneThe practice of good personal hygiene is one of the most effective strategies any individual can implement to reduce their risk of being infected by the influenza virus. Important points are:• Cover the nose and mouth with the sleeve when coughing or sneezing (not with the hand, as that contaminates the hand for touching and spreading organisms further);• Use a tissue for cleaning/blowing the nose, and dispose of it after use;• Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing, using a tissue, or touching any surface that may have become contaminated by a prior user. If using a surgical mask, dispose of it carefully after use and wash hands:° Wash hands with soap and water (preferable)
or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner;° When you wash your hands, wash for at least 20 seconds, making sure that all surfaces of hands and fingers are cleaned.• Become “touch aware”, and avoid touching surfaces that are likely to have been touched by others (door handles, stair railings, etc);

Avoid handshaking, social kissing, and other social rituals that involve touching others.
• Be careful with respiratory secretions when around other people (e.g. coughing and sneezing). If possible, avoid contact with individuals at risk (small children or those with underlying or chronic illnesses) until respiratory symptoms have resolved.
For more information on personal hygiene measures, see:
• www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/index.htm
• www.cdc.gov/cleanhands/

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO PREPARE?

You should be prepared for the possibility that in a pandemic many supplies will be limited and mobility will be greatly reduced. Be sure to take the necessary steps to have your affairs in order and plenty of critical supplies on hand.
• Ensure ample supplies of ongoing and routine medications for self and family.
• Ensure medical insurance coverage.
• Purchase thermometers for each member of the family.
• Stockpile hygiene products, water, and food for six weeks (see pages 22-26 for a detailed list of supplies).
• Ensure passport, visa or permits are valid for staying put and for travel
• Update the emergency contact information that your organization has on file for you and your family

WHAT Is “SOCIAL DISTANCING”?

Physical distancing is a term that refers to the practice of keeping a distance of one meter (three feet) between people. Social distancing refers to measures taken by health authorities to reduce transmission of a virus in the community.

HOW DO YOU CARE FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS?

Caring for yourself

The following are a few of the things you or those you are caring for can do to help reduce influenza symptoms. Of course, if the influenza appears to be more severe, you should consult with a medical professional immediately.
• Measure your temperature. If it is not above 38°C (100.4°F), you probably don’t have influenza.
• Rest and completely avoid rigorous exercise.
• Avoid contact with others.
• Stay at home.
• Drink plenty of fluids (a glass of water or juice every hour).
• Take paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) to reduce fever and relieve pain. (It does not kill the virus, but it makes you feel better.)
• Gargle with warm water to ease a sore throat.
• Use saline (salt) solution nose drops to help relieve a stuffed nose.
• Keep your nose clean with disposable tissues and throw the used tissues in the garbage. Wash your hands afterwards.
• Don’t smoke.

Infection Control Measures in the Home

◆ All persons in the household should carefully follow recommendations for hand hygiene (i.e., hand washing with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based hand rub) after contact with an influenza patient or the environment in which care is provided.

◆ Although no studies have assessed the use of masks at home to decrease the spread of infection, use of surgical masks by the patient and/or caregiver during interactions may be of benefit. The wearing of gloves and gowns is not recommended for household members providing care in the home.

How do you reduce the risk of exposure during transport to work Public transport should be avoided.

Options for transport to the workplace, in order of preference from a risk perspective, are:

a) Travel alone in own vehicle : Under such circumstances, no special protective measures are required.
b) Travel alone in a rented vehicle.
• On first acquisition of the vehicle, commonly touched surfaces (door handles, driving controls,

19 What you should do if you perform a critical function
surfaces in immediate vicinity of seating) should be wiped down with a recommended disinfectant solution.
• Hands should be washed after any wipedown procedure.
c) Shared travel where passengers come within 1 meter (3 feet) of one another.
• Vehicle occupants are advised to wear a surgical mask while in the vehicle. Commonly touched surfaces (door handles, driving controls, surfaces in immediate vicinity of seating) should be wiped down with a recommended disinfectant solution before each use of the vehicle.
• All occupants should wash their hands soon after leaving the vehicle, and avoid touching their faces during transport.
• Hands should be washed after any wipe-down procedure.

What should you do if you may have been exposed?

• Monitor your health for 7 days.
• If you become ill with fever and develop a cough or difficulty breathing, or if you develop any illness during this 7-day period, consult a health-care provider.
• At first contact with your health-care provider, remember to give him the following information: ° your symptoms
° whether or not you had direct poultry contact
° where you travelled• Do not travel while sick, and limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent the spread of any infectious illness.

 
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