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No, it’s not. But people should be aware of what’s going on and how to lower their risk of catching or spreading this unusual strain of the flu.
Instead of writing my own details on the swine flu in this blog, I am simply going to refer everyone to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website on the swine flu. Because this information is changing on an almost daily basis, it doesn’t make much sense for me to try to write a new blog every few days.
The CDC’s website is www.CDC.gov/swineflu/ . There you can read all sorts of timely and useful information about what it is, where it is, how to prevent it, and how to seek care if you suspect it.
In a nutshell, here are a few highlights:
• There is currently no vaccine for humans for the swine flu. There is one for pigs.
• The current common flu vaccine used in humans does NOT protect against the swine flu.
• There are anti-viral medications for anyone with a confirmed case available for children age 1 year and older, and adults.
• The symptoms are the same as the regular flu. It isn’t clear why there have been more fatalities than expected in the Mexico outbreak.
• This particular strain of the swine flu seems to be a naturally-occurring cross breed of the human flu, an avian flu, and 2 types of the swine flu.
EVERYONE NEEDS TO DO THEIR PART AND STAY HOME IF YOU ARE ILL WITH FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, COVER YOUR MOUTH IF YOU SNEEZE OR COUGH, WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY, AND CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR AND ASK ABOUT BEING TESTED FOR THE SWINE FLU IN THEIR OFFICE WITHOUT INFECTING EVERYONE ELSE THERE.
As of right now, only people who have knowingly been in contact with a swine flu-infected person, or people who are part of a large flu outbreak in a certain area, are recommended to get tested with a nasal swab. If you have flu symptoms, but haven’t been knowingly exposed and aren’t part of a large outbreak (such as your workplace, school, etc), then you probably just have the regular flu. The CDC website has up-to-date information.
If a vaccine becomes available and necessary, I will post the info on this blog.