Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 - how to protect yourself

As has been said before, wash your hands, and pay attention to those around you.

Staff and patients who might have been exposed to the virus in the intensive unit have been prescribed antiviral medications as a precaution. Patients with influenza are assigned to private rooms while caregivers must wear gowns, gloves and N95 masks to protect them from contracting the disease.

Breathe through your nose in public places. Your nose has cilia (little fingers) that filter out some pathogens.

If you are around people who are coughing, this is especially important. A sneeze can send the virus 100 miles an hour across a room. An H1N1 virus can live 8 - 10 hours on a soft surface, a couple of days on a hard one. You pick it up, it enters your body through an orifice, or cut, and you will be exposed.

It takes a few days to incubate the virus, and you may never know that the person beside you has been infected. Nurses are falling ill to the virus in one Toronto Hospital:

Meanwhile, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto's associate medical officer of health, confirmed an outbreak of H1N1 at Mount Sinai Hospital at a press conference this afternoon. Mount Sinai declared the outbreak after three cases in patients and staff were confirmed at its adult intensive care unit.

Do you think these nurses had the vaccines? Probably not.
Yet, we read:

Nurse faces dilemma over vaccine - Winnipeg Free Press

28 Oct 2009 ... A lot more people are choosing not to risk getting the shot, ... Far better that this nurse not be vaccinated and risk spreading the virus to all

Make sure, if you are making a decision, that you get Reliable information from across the Web (from a Globe & Mail site).

The above link provides information on contagion, how it spreads, symptoms, prevention and how to be prepared.

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