Avoiding H1N1 Influenza – How to Avoid Catching the Swine Flu
With the H1N1 Influenza virus spreading throughout the globe what can you do to protect yourself and your family from becoming it’s latest victim? There are a number of steps individuals can do to prevent becoming infected with this nasty strain of Influenza.
The H1N1 Influenza, formerly known as the Swine Flu, has been spreading throughout the world at an alarming pace since early 2009. And although a live virus Vaccine is now available in limited quantities with a additional doses of vaccine promised soon
this virus is not waiting to spread. So here are some basic steps you can do immediately to help you avoid getting sick:
1. Make a conscious effort to keep your hands out of your face. Adults on average touch their face 17 times per hour, and children touch their face up to 80 times per hour. Since the flu virus can remain on surfaces that you touch with your hands for many hours this is a vital step in preventing the Flu from reaching your eyes, nose and mouth.
2. Scrub your hands with clean water and anti-bacterial soap as often as possible. It is mostly the length of the scrubbing action (the Friction) that eliminates germs and bacteria from your hands. Some experts say to scrub your hands while singing 2 versus of “Happy Birthday to You” as the ideal length of time to wash your hands. Hand washing is more effective than other hand cleaning when your hands are soiled with grime and dirt.
3. As often as possible, and especially after touching surfaces that infected persons may have recently touched, use a hand sanitizer to clean your hands and kill harmful microbes. The most common type of hand sanitizer contains Ethyl Alcohol (with concentration levels above 60%) as the active Antimicrobial ingredient. Because these alcohol based hand sanitizers can dry your skin there are alcohol free alternatives. These next generation sanitizers usually contain an ammonium compound called Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) and unlike alcohol sanitizers they keep on protecting you even after they dry. Both types of hand sanitizers are equally effective at killing 99.9% of germs within 15 seconds including avian flu, SARS, influenza A2 and the H1N1 virus.
4. Avoid sitting or standing next to any person suspected of being infected. The flu virus can be spread by directly inhaling mucus and saliva liberated by the sneeze of an infected person as well as by hand-to-hand contact with such persons.
5. If exposure to infected persons is unavoidable, the use of an NIOSH Approved N95 rated respirator mask and a pair of clear safety glasses may decrease the chances that an infected person’s virus-laden matter will reach the mucus membranes of your eyes, nose and mouth.
The H1N1 Influenza is likely to kill more people before a reliable vaccine is fully distributed. By taking some precautionary steps like those outlined above, you can decrease your chances of contracting this deadly flu strain.