We have discussed ways to prevent dengue
. In this post let’s see how to protect yourself from bird flu or avian flu which is the hottest topic of discussion in the Asian countries for a while now. Why is it of great concern or worry? It’s because if the virus that’s causing the flu affects human being and adapts itself to live inside human being, chances are that it can turn into a pandemic disease killing several people.
That’s why health officers are taking immediate action to destroy those poultry that have been affected with the disease or the poultry in the epidemic area irrespective of whether being infected or not, so that they can prevent avian flu and contain the disease from spreading either to other birds or to human beings. Find below the facts and precautions to prevent bird flu and to protect yourself from getting infected by bird flu/avian flu.
What is avian influenza or avian flu or bird flu?
- Bird flu is a respiratory infection caused by avian (bird) influenza A viruses, sub type H5N1.
- This flu virus can affect domestic and wild bird species including chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, gulls, shorebirds.
- Human to human transmission as of now is rare. (Transmission rates can go high if the virus adapts itself to humans).
Facts about flu:
How is it caused?
Bird Flu Virus (H5N1)
New type of flu virus
Who is affected?
Birds but can spread to human
How is it spread among human?
Coughing, sneezing, touching objects contaminated with saliva or nasal discharge
Usually through close contact with infected birds
Like seasonal flu
Is it dangerous?
Usually not for healthy adults and children
Yes, about 50% of infected humans have died
Yes due to large numbers of people affected
The symptoms of various types of flu are similar which include:
- Muscle aches
- Tiredness and weakness
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Some patients such as the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of suffering from complications of flu. Bird flu can be more severe. It can be complicated by eye infections, pneumonia and breathlessness. The risk of death is higher.
Protecting yourself against the flu pandemic:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water, especially before touching your eyes, nose or mouth and after going to the toilet. (Similar tip as we discussed in parasites like pinworm and roundworm and deworming).
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a surgical mask if you are unwell.
- See a doctor if you are feeling unwell.
- Do not go to work when you are ill.
- When sharing food at meal time, use a serving spoon.
Be careful when you travel overseas
- Check with your doctor if any vaccinations are required.
- If you are traveling to a country affected by bird flu; avoid visiting poultry farms and markets; contact with chickens, ducks, pigeons and wild birds; handling or eating raw or uncooked poultry and eggs; contact with anyone who appears unwell.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
- Eat a balanced diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Do 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.
- Have enough sleep and rest. Keep stress level low.
- Do not smoke.
- (Whew! These tips got into our New Year Diet and Health Care Resolutions too).
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