Reports of Swine Flu have been infiltrating the media for days now, making all of us a little nervous. But amongst the facts, there is also a lot of misinformation being passed around over the internet about the disease. We feel the need to address the issue simply and straightforwardly because we care about you, our loyal customers.
What is Swine Flu?
- Swine Flu (now also being referred to as the 2009 H1N1 flu virus) is a respiratory disease that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs.
- It is an airborne virus and cannot be contracted by eating pork.
- Swine Flu symptoms are very similar to the typical flu virus: coughing, sneezing, fever, and can also include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. [from CDC]
The Current Swine Flu Situation
- As of today, human cases of the virus have been identified in Mexico, the United States, and nine other countries.
- In the U.S., there has been only one known death and about 100 cases confirmed from the flu.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently raised their alert to a Level 5, which indicates confirmed community-level outbreaks in two or more countries, and calls all countries to be prepared to battle a pandemic. [from WHO and CNN]
Why we should remain calm
- While the U.S. government is taking the outbreak very seriously and is taking all necessary precautions, President Obama has urged the public not to panic just yet. Obama called the virus a “cause for concern” but not alarm.
- Dr. William Schaffner, the chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University told CNN, “[Swine Flu] is not spreading all that rapidly…There’s been very little transmission from the schoolchildren to family members, and it certainly hasn’t spread throughout Queens.”
- Thousands of people die each year from the regular flu. CNN reports that since January, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recorded over 13,000 people who have died from complications from the “normal” seasonal flu.
Why the concern?
- There is currently no vaccine for swine flu.
- The main danger lies in the fact that this strain of influenza is rare in humans that and our immune system cannot as easily defend itself as it can from the normal flu.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. Nation Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reported to CNN, “There’s no background immunity in the population, and it is spreading from human to human, all of which has the potential for a pandemic.” [CNN]
How to protect yourself
- The CDC and WHO are advising people to take extra precautions to prevent against the disease, most of which are similar to preventing yourself and others from any kind of virus.
- Avoid close contact with sick people, and stay home from work or school if you are sick to prevent from infecting others.
- All experts agree that the most effective way to protect yourself from infection is to wash your hands frequently
- Another option is a hand sanitizer, like Dr. G’s Hand Clens Instant Sanitizing Foam. It effectively kills 99.9% of germs without the need for a towel or water.
- Dr. G’s hand sanitizer is alcohol-free, unlike most other sanitary hand cleansers. The benefit of an alcohol-free formula is that it doesn’t dry out your hands. It can be shipped to anywhere in the world – fast! (Alcohol based products are not allowed to be shipped air freight because they are flammable)
- Dr. G’s Hand Clens Sanitizer also comes in a .5 oz travel sized bottle. This spritzing sanitizer has the same benefits the original foam cleanser, but is in a convenient portable container.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your famly from the virus is to stay up to date with the most current and accurate information. This means getting your news from reliable sources. Some sites we recommend are:
- This article from CNN is particularly helpful in answering some of the most prevalent questions that have come up regarding Swine Flu
- The CDC and WHO (the organizations who have been monitoring the disease the closest and have the most experts on duty)
- Other reputable and helpful news sources we recommend are MSNBC and The New York Times.