Swine flu panic appears to be sweeping the nation, and it's not entirely uncalled for. The Centers for Disease Control...
Swine flu panic appears to be sweeping the nation, and it's not entirely uncalled for. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are tracking cases, and thus far, 91 cases are noted in the U.S. along with one death. The CDC has currently issued an emergency response, and just yesterday, the CDC issued new interim guidance for clinicians on how to care for children and pregnant women who may be infected with this virus because young children and pregnant women are in a high risk group for complications resulting from seasonal flu.

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The Department of Health and Human Services has also issued a nationwide public health emergency declaration in response to recent human infections related to swine influenza. WHAT IS SWINE FLU: According to the CDC, "Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs." Swine flu results in major illness among pigs, but few deaths. Only sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred (until now, about 12 known cases between December 2005 through February 2009). Most commonly, cases occur in people who are directly exposed to pigs; i.e you live on a pig farm, pet pigs at a petting zoo, etc. You CANNOT get this flu simply by eating pork. This new strain is thought to be spread by the same means as the regular flu, so if someone with it coughs on you, you could catch it. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: The CDC notes that symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. HOW AT RISK ARE YOU AND YOUR BABY: Not very. While there have been emergency responses put in place, it's precautionary. So far cases are extremely slim when compared to all the other dangers in the world (car accidents, regular flu, food poisoning, etc.) The CDC says the best thing to do is simply follow smart infection prevention guidelines which means:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Do the same for your baby.
  • Wash your hand well and often.
  • Don't rub your eyes, nose or mouth, and if you can stop your baby from this too - germs spread fast through these body areas.
  • Stay home if you get sick and avoid long contact with other sick people.
See all the flu facts and prevention guidelines. Don't panic. High stress can make you more susceptible to illness. I know it's all over the news, but the worst thing is to freak. Practice healthy habits, eat a healthy diet, and know that Swain flu in humans is currently very rare overall.

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