With more reports of H1N1 Influenza A, or “swine flu” being broadcast hourly by many media outlets, it is no surprise that many are starting to feel rather nervous.
As of Thursday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are 14 confirmed cases in California and 109 in the United States.
Four Inland Empire schools were shut down this week as a precaution and a High School in Corona cancelled its prom.
In Mexico, the epicenter of the flu pandemic, all schools have been shut down and restaurants and cafes are only allowed to serve takeout food.
Authorities in Mexico have also been warning people to not gather in large group and they have been handing out face masks, which led to rioting when they ran out.
Experts have said that the masks will not help.
The death of a 23-month old Mexican child in Texas has been the first on American soil and many are concerned that it will not be the last.
Contrary to popular belief and recent media coverage, this flu is not a new virus.
There are regular outbreaks of this among pigs every few years and it is not unheard of for humans to contract it from pigs.
More than 30 years ago, 200 people in Fort Dix, New Jersey,contracted the virus and one person died.
Between 2005 and 2009, there were 12 human cases of swine flu detected in the United States alone, with no deaths.
The difference between now and 30 years ago is that it has spread to many countries, with more people classed as ‘at risk’ from complications arising from any strain of influenza.
However, we have much better medicine than 30 years ago and the world has been prepared for a new strain of influenza to make its way over to humans after the avian flu scare a few years ago.
The swine flu is caused by the Type A Influenza virus in pigs that spreads from pig to pig and sometimes to humans.
The symptoms of the “swine flu” are the same as the influenza. In some cases there is vomiting and diarrhea are involved.
Generally people are not easily susceptible to the disease, but it is still a good idea to be careful.
People can be contagious starting one day before symptoms start to show and seven days after becoming ill.
But before anyone loses hope, digs a hole to hide in and waits for the end of humanity, there are some things that need to be cleared up.
The first thing is that influenza is not a new virus. Every flu season, between five percent and 20 percent of the population of the U.S. becomes ill with the flu.
It is estimated that around 36,000 Americans die each year from complications relating to the virus.
The only real difference between swine flu and normal flu is the fact animals can catch it too.
However, one cannot contract the “swine flu” from eating pork products.
And though there have been no reported cases of the flu in Egypt, officials in Egypt had 300,000 pigs slaughtered.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, as humans, we have a basic immunity to this strain. Our bodies can fight it off better.
This is an airborne virus that travels by people sneezing, coughing and not washing their hands properly.
So to increase your chances of staying one of the people that doesn’t get the virus, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, avoid putting your hands near your mouth or eyes, cough or sneeze into a napkin then throw it away and stay away from people who have any flu symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if you start experiencing flu-like symptoms, you should contact your health care provider to see if testing is needed.
These symptoms include fever, aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea (or vomiting) and diarrhea.
However, if you start having difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion or severe or persistent vomiting, then you must seek emergency medical help immediately.