Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs that is caused by type A influenza viruses. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans: however, human infections with swine flu do occur. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that this swine influenza is contagious and is spreading from human to human. The Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and they include:
* Fever (greater than 100 F)
* Sore throat
* Body Aches
* Stuffy nose
* Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting
The viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth and nose. Infected people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu but there are everyday things you can do to protect yourself.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash
* Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
If you believe that you are ill with influenza symptoms, contact your health care provider. There are prescriptions medicines that can be used to treat or prevent infections with swine flu viruses.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and updated guidance and new information will be provided as it becomes available.
If you have more questions, please call the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District at 561-7900 or visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/