Swine flu has made its way to the United States, with several dozen cases reported across the country. The H1N1 virus has hit other countries much harder, particularly Mexico, where a number of deaths have been reported. In fact, many of the cases here in the U.S. have some connection to Mexico, such as a group of students from a private school in New York who recently returned from a school trip there.
Swine flu is spread in similar fashion as other types of flu, but there are some things we can do to prevent, or at least slow, the spread. Listed below are a few prevention tips from the CDC.gov website.
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 hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Hopefully, the known cases of swine flu can be contained and the strain will not be able to spread. The Department of Homeland Security has declared a public health emergency here in the United States, but it is important to recognize that at the current time, cases of swine flu infection seem to be fairly concentrated, and most have recent travel to Mexico in common. Still, it is a good reminder that the daily hygiene habits listed above should be used daily to prevent the spread of germs in the event of a global swine flu epidemic.