Health Precautions and Swine Flu

Swine flu is still a news story to me. Oh, I’m worried about the outbreaks in California, Mexico, and other states. But, I have not come in contact with anyone who I know has swine flu. I hope I never come in contact. I do wonder about the symptoms. It would be awful if someone’s symptoms were ignored. Or, just put off as “just the flu.” I’m certainly more vigilant with my children. I’m listening for coughs and sniffles. Worried about handwashing. Thankful that we can play outside after being couped up all winter.

I received the following alert from Momcentral I wanted to share…

With news breaking hourly about the spread of the Swine Flu, both around the world and within our country, we have been hearing Moms across the nation concerned about what precautions to take along with how to distinguish regular cold and flu symptoms from the Swine Flu. This leaves us with the questions of what key precautions we need to take to keep our families healthy, and what key symptoms we should be on the alert for.

With a count of 64 identified cases of Swine Flu, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports today,”The outbreak of disease in people caused by a new influenza virus of swine origin continues to grow in the United States and internationally. Today, CDC reports additional confirmed human infections, hospitalizations and the nation’s first fatality from this outbreak. The more recent illnesses and the reported death suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the U.S.”

Major health organizations, in particular the CDC, recommend hand washing with soap and water and when that is not available, hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based rub, as critical to minimize the spread of germs during illness outbreaks. When the Purell team at Johnson & Johnson contacted MomCentral yesterday about a public service campaign to help spread the word to Moms – they immediately got MomCentral’s attention. Purell wants Moms to be aware of these important public health messages:

According to the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH), the hands are one of the most frequent transmission routes for many types of infections as they come into direct contact with known portals of entry for pathogens (mouth, nose, conjunctiva of the eyes). Therefore, practicing proper hand hygiene is the easiest way to help reduce infections. Another way that some infections can spread is through the air, which is why it is important to cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze.

While no hand sanitizer is indicated to prevent Swine Flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the ways you can help protect yourself from Swine Flu is by practicing good hand hygiene. Specific CDC recommendations include keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water may not be available, such as when you’re on the go.
? Using soap and water, wash hands for 15 to 20 second.
? When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Apply enough product to thoroughly wet hands, then rub hands together briskly until dry.

PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer has a unique formulation of 65% alcohol with a special blend of moisturizers to kill germs on hands. The alcohol breaks down the germs’ cell walls causing them to die. When applied to hands it evaporates within seconds. According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Guidelines for Infection Control Practice, “alcohols applied to the skin are among the safest known antiseptics.”The CDC reports the following (

? “What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans? The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”
? “How does swine flu spread? Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.”
? “Can people catch swine flu from eating pork? No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

For more information, go to or This post was inspired by an alert from MomCentral.

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