It seems as though every year new and deadly virus strains appear. In April of 2009, a new virus; H1N1, otherwise known as swine flu was first confirmed in people.
Later, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said; "This virus is spreading from person to person worldwide and is responsible for numerous deaths".
On June 11, 2009 , the World Health Organization or WHO, declared that the H1N1 virus had reached pandemic proportions.
While The World Health Organization said in July of 2010 that the swine flu virus was pretty much over, it has certainly not gone away. For the 2010-11 season, the flu vaccine was a combination of three specific virus strains, one of them being the H1N1 and the other two were the seasonal strains so it seems we haven't seen the last of swine flu yet.
Remember some years ago when the major concern was the H5N1 ‘Bird Flu’ or ‘Avian Flu’? This is still being closely watched and may still prove to be a new threat at some point.
There are common-sense things we can do to help prevent us from contracting the flu and spreading it to others. Know what to do. Get in the habit of being precautious. You can save yourself and your family a lot of grief by taking recommended precautions seriously.
1) Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Especially after contact with any surface that may harbor a virus. That includes every public door you touch, every grocery store shopping cart, every vending machine, escalator or moving walkway, every telephone , computer keyboard, public telephones, and every public restroom. Anything outside your home that you touch could potentially cause you to contract a virus.
2) Use disinfectant wipes on all frequently handled surfaces like doorknobs, computer keyboards, telephones, etc.
Minimize your contact with anyone who has a fever or other flu symptoms.
3) Stay home and keep your children home if anyone complains of flu-like symptoms.
4) Try to stay healthy. Eat right and be sure to get enough vitamins and minerals, especially during flu season. Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated.
5) Consider getting a seasonal flu shot and tell your doctor immediately if you get start to have any symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, or other symptoms.
6) Have surgical grade face masks on-hand. Most neighborhood drugstores sell them.
7) Follow safety precautions and advice from public health officials. Stay aware of the situation.
Make sure to have over the counter cough cold and flu symptom reliever on hand during flu-season.
In 2010, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services was quoted by Reader's Digest.com as saying that; "We have an opportunity now to get out ahead of it: We have ample vaccine, and if we get as many people vaccinated as possible, it can help avert what many experts believe may be a more vicious strain next winter."
Thankfully it was a relatively mild season but don't let your guard down because each season presents new threats. Be prepared and decrease your chances of infection.
Stay up to date on all current watches and warnings at:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
more to come on Swine Flu
see Disease Outbreak