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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why is hand washing important?

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Why is hand washing important?
Hand washing is a vital way to keep healthy people from contracting the flu. It cannot be overemphasized: it is absolutely essential that people wash their hands correctly, and wash them often.
What is the correct method to wash hands?
Remove all jewellery from the hands.
First wet hands under running water.

Apply soap to wet hands. If using bar soap, allow it to drain between uses. It is preferable to use liquid soap or small bars of soap that are changed frequently.
Rub all surfaces of the hands vigorously for a minimum of 10 seconds.
Rinse the hands under running water.
Dry with a clean cloth or disposable paper towel, or hot air dryer.
Avoid splashing.
Use a paper towel to turn off the tap. This prevents your hands from becoming re-contaminated.
If running water is not available, hands that are not visibly soiled can be cleaned with a waterless hand wash product. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
When should I wash my hands?
Before, during and after food preparation
Prior to eating
After using the toilet
After touching animals or animal waste
After touching the nose or mouth
After changing diapers / nappies
Whenever hands are dirty
What about waterless hand rubs?
These are only required where hand washing facilities are inadequate.
If hands are visibly soiled, the visible dirt must be removed first with soap and water.
Use of a waterless antiseptic agent is equivalent to washing with soap and water.

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How to manage Your Own Health

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Why will I have to manage my own health?
During a pandemic, it is likely that health care services will be overburdened. Your usual medical provider may be extremely overwhelmed with serious cases.
If your symptoms are mild, you should avoid medial facilities.
Visiting such facilities may further expose you to infectious diseases,
and may provide an opportunity for you to pass your illness to other people.

How will I know that I have influenza?
- During phase 6, the pandemic flu will be circulating widely across the globe.
If you develop the following symptoms it is likely that you have influenza.

- A sudden onset of a temperature over 38° C / 100.4° F

One or more of the following symptoms:
- Cough
- Sore throat
- Generalised aches and pains
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea / vomiting / diarrhea
Your local medical facility may have a designated influenza center that may offer testing.

What should I do?
- If you have antiviral drugs available, decide whether you should take them as soon as possible since their effects are time-sensitive.
- If you decide to use the drugs, contact a doctor.
- Monitor your health actively. Keep a daily log of symptoms and record your temperature twice a day.
- Do not measure your temperature within 30 minutes of eating or drinking.
- Get adequate rest and plenty of sleep.
- Drink 8 – 12 standard glasses of fluids a day, unless you have been told to restrict your fluid intake for medical reasons.
- If you have gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) avoid fatty, spicy or fried foods. Drink liquids or eat soft, easily-digested foods such as biscuits, toast, bananas, rice, cooked cereal, and applesauce.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Use warm salt water gargles as needed (2 teaspoons of salt in a standard glass of water).
- Suck on hard candy, herbal throat lozenges, or over-the-counter throat lozenges (sugar free if you have diabetes).
- Take acetaminophen / paracetamol or ibuprofen. Follow the manufacturer’s labelling for dosage.

When do I need to see a doctor?
Most people will get better without any intervention within 5 to 10 days.
However, you may need to telephone a doctor for further advice.
If possible, phone first before going to a facility for care, and let the staff know that you believe you have influenza.

Seek further advice:
- If antiviral drugs may be available (best taken in first 48 hours of the illness)
- If symptoms last longer than 10 days
- If illness becomes worse after 5 days
- If breathing is difficult or coughing produces yellow / green phlegm or blood
- If experiencing severe or persistent vomiting
- If fever is high or prolonged
- If you are worried - If you are severely unwell, go straight to a hospital.

How do I minimize the chance of infecting others?
- Isolate yourself as much as possible while you are ill.
Avoid close face-to-face contact (within 1 meter/ 3 feet).
- Stay home.
Do not go to work, and try not to go to areas where people will be gathering. - Within your home, isolate yourself as much as you can. Sleep in a separate room.

Ensure your room is well-ventilated.
- If you must have face-to-face contact with others, wear a mask.
Avoid touching, do not shake hands.
Pay attention to hygiene
– Cover your cough, use disposable tissues, wash your hands frequently and encourage others to do the same.

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What is Flu?

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What is the flu?

Flu symptoms begin suddenly and are more severe than those of a common cold or upper respiratory infection. Although flu infections differ, most cause the following symptoms:

· Fever for 4 – 5 days (38°C/100.4°F or higher)

· Chills, rigors

· Tiredness or extreme exhaustion, headache, muscle ache

· Decreased appetite

· Dry cough

· Runny nose

· Sore throat

· Mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (gastrointestinal symptoms more common in children)

Complications of the flu include pneumonia, dehydration and sometimes death.
It can also aggravate underlying medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.

How can I tell if I have the flu or a cold?
If you have some of the above symptoms and not others, you may have a cold.

Cold symptoms come on more gradually than flu, and they do not usually include fever, headache, extreme exhaustion or severe muscle aches.
Colds are typified by sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat.

When am I contagious? How long will I be ill?
Generally, people with seasonal influenza are contagious one day before they show symptoms and for about seven days after they start to feel sick.
Patients typically suffer flu symptoms for 5 – 10 days.

How can I prevent passing the flu on to others?
· Cover your nose and mouth if you cough / sneeze, with the inside of your elbow, not your hands.
· Stay home when you are ill.
· Avoid close contact with others (hugging, kissing) and do not share eating utensils.
· Frequently disinfect shared household objects like faucets and doorknobs.
· Wash your hands frequently, and advise others to do the same.

How can I prevent getting the flu?
The best way to avoid the flu is to have an annual vaccination.
Maintain optimal health, and practice good personal hygiene.

Can’t my doctor give me an antibiotic?
Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and thus will not help you recover from influenza since it is a virus.
Only anti-viral drugs can help you recover more quickly, and these must be taken within two days of developing symptoms to be effective.
Antivirals may reduce the length of your illness by one or two days and may make you less contagious.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicken Wings - It's Dangerous

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Avoid eating chicken wings frequently - ladies, especially; a true story...!

A friend of mine recently had a growth in her womb and she underwent an operation to remove them.

The cyst removed was filled with a dark colored blood. She thought that she would be recovered after the surgery but! she was terribly wrong.

A relapse occurred just a few months later. Distressed , she rushed down to her gynecologist for a consultation.

During her consultation, her doctor asked her a question that puzzled her.

He ask if she was a frequent consumer of chicken wings and she replied yes wondering as to how, he knew of her eating habits.

You see, the truth is in this modern day and age; chickens are injected with steroids to accelerate their growth so that the needs of this society can be met.

This need is none other than the need for food.

Chickens that are injected with steroids are usually given the shot at the neck or the wings.

Therefore, it is in these places that the highest concentration of steroids exists.
These steroids have terrifying effects on the body as it accelerates growth...
It has an even more dangerous effect in the presence of female hormones, this leads to women being more prone to the growth of a cyst in the womb. Therefore, I advise the people out there to watch their diets and to lower their frequency of consuming chicken wings!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

How does influenza spread?

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How does influenza spread? 

Influenza is mainly passed from person to person through droplet transmission. This occurs when a sick person coughs or sneezes contaminated droplets into the air, and a healthy person either inhales them or gets them on their hands and then later transfers them to their mouth, nose or eyes.
Good respiratory hygiene can help prevent illness from spreading. Everyone should practice good respiratory hygiene, even if they do not appear sick, since people can pass on the flu before they even show symptoms.

How can I help prevent germs from spreading?
• Use a tissue to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. If a tissue is not available, it is preferable to cover the nose and mouth with the upper sleeve. 
Do NOT use your hands, since you can easily pass on an infection by touching shared objects (doorknobs, copy machines, microwaves, etc.).
• Dispose of used tissues in the nearest waste receptacle.
• Wash your hands after covering a cough or sneeze.
• In common areas, try to sit at least 1 meter (3 feet) away from coughing individuals. 
• If you are sick, and must be in public, advise people not to get too close to you. Don’t shake hands.

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“Swine Flu ” or “H1N1 Influenza A” is a new type of influenza (subtype H1N1) believed to have formed from a mixture of pig, bird and human virus. It is easy to catch from other humans and can cause serious illness or even death. Those most affected range from ages 15 – 50. 

How can I avoid catching Influenza if a pandemic occurs?

Droplets containing virus are spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. 
- Use a disposable tissue to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.  
- If tissue is not available, cover nose and mouth with upper sleeve. 
- Wash Hands after covering a cough or sneeze. 
- Dispose of used tissues immediately in waste receptacle

You can catch the disease if someone coughs on you, or if you touch a surface which an infected person has coughed on and then touch your mouth
- Wash your hands frequently and carefully 
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands 
- Don’t shake hands or kiss friends

The virus lives for 48 hours on hard surfaces such as tables, taps, door handles, and lift buttons. Soap & water, alcohol and disinfectants all kill the virus.  
- Clean hard surfaces frequently  
- If touching communal items clean before use or use a tissue  
- Clean shared equipment very carefully before use

Cough particles can travel up to 1 metre. A person can be infectious before developing symptoms 
- Consider everyone as infectious 
- Avoid public places. If unavoidable wear a fully covered mask. 
- Avoid close contact with sick people. 
- If sick with influenza, stay home and keep away from others. Wear surgical mask if contact is unavoidable

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H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)

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H1N1 Influenza (‘Swine Flu’)
What is H1N1 Flu?
H1N1 Influenza, or “swine flu”, is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses. Outbreaks in pigs occur throughout the year. Swine influenza viruses are most commonly of the H1N1 subtype, but sometimes pigs can be infected with more than one virus type at a time, which can allow the genes from these viruses to mix. This can result in an influenza virus containing genes from a number of sources, called a "reassortant" virus. This sometimes crosses the species barrier to cause disease in humans.

How is this H1N1 flu spreading?
It is most likely spreading from person to person in the same way other flu viruses spread: through infectious respiratory droplets (droplets released when a person coughs, sneezes or talks). If these get into a healthy person's nose or mouth, the person can get infected. Sometimes people get infected when they touch something with flu virus on it, then touch their mouth or nose. Flu viruses can live on shared objects (doorknobs, keyboards, counters, etc.) for up to 48 hours. They can live on clothes or materials for up to 12 hours.
What are the symptoms?
It appears that the early symptoms are similar to seasonal flu - sudden fever (over 38ºC) and cough, sore throat, headache, generalised aches and pains, shortness of breath and vomiting and diarrhoea.
How can I avoid catching influenza?
Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with tissues or masks. Encourage others to do so.
Be aware of viruses possibly living on hard surfaces – clean them frequently with soap and water, detergent or alcohol. This will kill the H1N1 influenza virus. Wear gloves.
Clean shared items frequently e.g. door knobs, lift buttons, microwaves etc
Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.
Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and diarrhoea / vomiting.
Again, wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly
Practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food and keeping physically active.
What should I do if I think I, or someone in my family, possibly has H1N1 influenza?
If you or your children feel unwell, have fever, cough and/or sore throat:
Stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds as much as possible.
Rest and take plenty of fluids.
Keep a record of your temperature twice daily (not within half an hour of eating or drinking)
Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues or a mask when coughing and sneezing and dispose of the used tissues properly.
Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing.
Contact clinic if fever > 38°C, symptoms as above and the swine flu virus is in the area. Antiviral drugs are best given in the first 48 hours.
Most people will get better within 5 to 10 days. Seek further advice:
If symptoms last longer than 10 days
If illness becomes worse after 5 days
If breathing is difficult or coughing produces yellow/green phlegm or blood
If experiencing severe or persistent vomiting
If fever is high or prolonged
If you are worried
If there is an ill person at home:
Try to provide the ill person a separate section in the house. If this is not possible, keep the patient at least 1 metre in distance from others.
Cover mouth and nose when caring for the ill person. Masks can be bought commercially or made using readily available materials then disposed of or cleaned properly.
Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after each contact with the ill person.
Keep the environment clean with readily available household cleaning agents. Wash clothes and bedding in the washing machine and clean hard services and shared items frequently.
What drugs are available for treatment?
Most of the previously reported swine influenza cases in earlier years recovered fully from the disease without requiring medical attention and without antiviral medicines. Some influenza viruses develop resistance to the antiviral medicines, limiting the effectiveness of treatment. The viruses obtained from the recent human cases with H1N1 Influenza in the United States are currently sensitive to oselatmivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).
Is it safe to eat pork and pork products?
Yes. H1N1 influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork or other products derived from pigs. The H1N1 influenza virus is killed by cooking temperatures of 160°F/70°C.
Is there a human vaccine to protect from swine influenza?
There are no vaccines that contain the current H1N1 Influenza virus causing illness in humans. It is not known whether current human seasonal influenza vaccines can provide any protection. Influenza viruses change very quickly. It is important to develop a vaccine against the currently circulating virus strain for it to provide maximum protection to vaccinated people. This is being done as quickly as possible.
Please keep informed about the H1N1 Influenza, the following websites are helpful:
World Health Organisation:
Canters for Disease Control and Prevention:
Australian Government Travel Bulletin – H1N1 Influenza

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