H1N1 Flu ("Swine Flu") Prevention Tips

Flu season is upon us again, and we would like to help you protect yourself from getting any type of flu this season, including the H1N1 flu, which is commonly referred to the "Swine flu". First we should define what exactly the H1N1 virus is. The H1N1 virus is an influenza virus that is causing illness in people. It is spread from person-to-person in much the same way that seasonal influenza viruses spread. They can be spread by an individual coughing or sneezing, or simply by touching something, and then you contracting that same surface. Studies have shown that an influenza virus can stay active on a surface and infect another person for 2 to 8 hours from original contact.

The H1N1 affects all people alike, but seems to be most dangerous for the elderly, young children, and pregnant mothers. More than 60% of the deaths that have occurred so far were in the age group of 50 years, or older. This is slightly lower than typical influenza outbreaks, so it seems that all age groups are affected evenly.

The signs of the H1N1 virus include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, and chills. These symptoms are very similar to that of a typical seasonal flu. If you experience these symptoms, please see a physician. To make work places and schools safe from spreading these types of viruses, please remove yourself from these environments until you have been free from these symptoms for at least 24 hours.

The best possible way to help combat the spread of the virus is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly. You should also consistently wash your hands with antimicrobial hand soap for at least 20 seconds at a time, throughout the day. To help prevent the spread of other disease and viruses, always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, because germs are spread this way.