Influenza A

November 12, 2012

Influenza A

In May 2009 there were 226 cases confirmed of patients with the influenza A (H1N1) virus. This information was reported in the United States by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

One of the reasons which help with the spreading of influenza A, along with other forms of influenza, can be associated with poor personal hygiene. The risk of catching this virus may be reduced or prevented by having good personal hygiene.

At present there is not a vaccination specifically for the strain of virus that causes influenza A. The vaccination that is used prior to the flu vaccine season is a combination of the strain of viruses that may appear during the flu season. Influenza A is a relatively new strain of flu and the seasonal vaccination will not prevent the risk of catching this form of flu.

Influenza is an airborne disease and the infection spreads by someone who has the virus coughing or sneezing and the droplets of the virus pass on to others, either directly or by touching something they then come into contact with.

It is very important in the prevention of many diseases to wash your hands often and thoroughly and not just when it is coming up to the flu season. Always use warm water when washing your hands and use soap to achieve lather and wash for twenty seconds minimum. Rinse your hands then dry them with either a paper towel or a clean cotton towel. When turning the faucet off use a paper towel, this helps in preventing recontamination of your hands.

How long is 20 seconds? This may be so obvious but for many of us it is longer than we initially thought. Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds at all times and if you find yourself in a situation where you do not have access to soap and water, then use an alcohol based hand sanitizer as an alternative.

There are certain steps you can take to help prevent and reduce your chance of catching the influenza A virus and these include the following:

  • If you can, try to keep away from people who you know have the flu virus. If you do become sick with influenza A keep away from others as this may help in preventing them from becoming sick as well.

  • Make sure you get enough sleep.

  • Take part in a regular exercise regime and keep active

  • Make sure you are completely hydrated and drinking lots of fluids

  • Have a healthy diet that includes fruit and vegetables

If you are beginning to cough and/or sneeze keep your nose and mouth covered with a tissue. This may help in the prevention of the virus spreading to others. Also throw away immediately any used paper tissues. After you have had a sneezing or coughing episode try not to touch your mouth, nose or your eyes. This will help to reduce spreading of the infection. If at all possible wash your hands after each episode and if not possible use the hand sanitizer.

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