Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu : is it a pandemic waiting to happen ?

Swine Flu : is it a pandemic waiting to happen ? This is the question on everybody's mind. Daily news of spreading of swine flu. World Health Organization has increased threat level to 4 to 5. This decision by WHO to increase an alert at Phases 4 or 5 triggers signal that the virus is becoming increasingly adept at spreading among humans. Phase 6 is for a full-blown pandemic, characterized by outbreaks in at least two regions of the world.

Flu happens because of virus. These viruses have multiple strains . They do mutate into more dangerous strains and become vaccine immune over a period of time. Time to time flu virus migrate from birds or animals to humans. Because of the newness of the protein strains humans do not have immunity against those migrated flu viruses. Due to this reason, it spread faster in human.

There are tons of good information about H1N1 virus and its scientific explanation about how these viruses evolve, spread and vaccinations been used against them.

In case pandemic happens, as a worst case scenario, definitely countries are already prepared for such outbreak. The reason for that preparedness was bird flu threat. The vaccination research is going around the clock with very faster speed.

In such condition, common people like you and me, what can we do.

  1. Of course, first important thing is not to panic.

  2. next is to build own immunity towards influenza/flu.
    • There is no vaccination available for swine flu.
    • But still health organization are advising to be updated with common flu vaccination. Though the existing flu vaccination is not effective, it still protects from other strains of flu viruses.
    • Staying healthy by eating statin enriched food or may getting statin medicine prescribed
    • Keeping immune system in well condition to fight in case required. This involves sleeping enough, eating healthy food which are rich with anti-oxidants

  3. wash your hands before eating and after eating with soap and warm water.

  4. Sanitize your hands after touching door knob, phone, public places or shaking hands etc using alcohol based sanitizer.

  5. In case of sneezing and coughing to cover mouth and nose. Dispose that napkin in proper bin. Make sure to sanitize hands with alcohol based sanitizer,

    • Avoid traveling to areas where swine flu outbreak is happening. If it is unavoidable due to business or personal reasons, take precaution as mentioned above.
    • Depending on your daily routines and requirements, avoid crowded public places, schools, public gathering places. This will reduce risk of getting infection.

  6. Keep updated information about swine flu development, vaccinations, any new precautionary measures which is been published and various health organizations announcements.

There is an interesting tool 'Google Flu Trends'. I come across while looking for flu trends. Interestingly this tool shows currently flu activity and trends are very low. Here is an explanation from Google.org about this flu trend tool:

How does this work?
We've found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity in the United States. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate possible flu activity at a state level in near real-time.

There are lots of good information resources on Flu from US Government as well as from Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

  • What are your thoughts on staying safe in such pandemic ?

  • Do you think Swine flu would become a pandemic?

  • Do you recommend any precautionary method against swine flu?

Stay healthy...enjoy life...