Monday, April 27, 2009

The Flu

Read this, or this.

I'll sum it up for you. There is a new strain of flu spreading. It hit Mexico City first, and seems to have transferred from birds to pigs to humans. Over 60 people are dead, and at least 800 more cases are confirmed, some in the United States (but apparently a less lethal strain). It is being spread human-to-human. The dead were young healthy adults, just like in the 1918 flu epidemic.

What can you do? Check out Flu Preparedness Websites and follow some simple guidelines:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Wash thoroughly with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.
    • Make sure to wash your hands before eating, or touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • If caring for ill persons, wash hands after providing assistance.
    • Always wash your hands after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing, or after touching used tissues or handkerchiefs.
    • If hand washing is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Put used tissues in the trash.
  • Don't share items such as towels, lipstick, toys or anything else that might be contaminated with germs.
  • Don't share food, utensils or beverage containers with others.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • See your health care provider as soon as you can if you have a cough and a fever, and follow their instructions, including taking medicine as prescribed and getting rest.
  • Use a mask when visiting your health care provider.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
And, in case you didn't garner it from the above instructions, wash your hands and don't spread your freaking germs around. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Wear a freakin' mask if you have to. If you are sick, don't go out and spread it around, rest and follow doctor's orders instead.

It would probably be a good idea to cancel any non-essential travel plans to affected areas until we get some sort of "all clear" from the CDC or WHO. However, that's a personal opinion and not an official recommendation... yet. Watch the official websites of the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization for updates. Hopefully this will pass quickly and not spread further. Hopefully no one else will die. Hopefully this will be another "false" alarm of pandemic. But, just in case, be ready.