As I write this article,
- the EU is telling all Europeans to avoid travelling to Mexico and the U.S.
- the U.S. thinks that the EU is overreacting, but is getting ready to issue their own travel warning for Mexico
- stock markets around the world have caught an economic form of swine flu
- and in my hometown of Toronto, people are remembering the SARS outbreak of 2003
Obviously, we are all a little concerned by this potential swine flu pandemic – some more than others.
But, before you head out to buy your own Hazmat suit, let’s take a look at what swine flu is, how the outbreak happened, how you catch it, what happens if you catch and how you can avoid getting sick.
What is Swine Flu?
Dr. Joe Bresee with the CDC Influenza Division describes swine flu
How did the Mexican Swine Flu outbreak happen
According to Mexico’s Health Minister, Jose Angel Cordova, the virus “mutated from pigs, and then at some point was transmitted to humans.
Pigs are nature’s notorious “mixing bowls” for inter-species infections, and many swine flu viruses have long contained human influenza genetic components.
This situation may have been made worse by Mexico’s shift from small, local pig farms to gigantic factory style pig farms. Most of those farms are owned by U.S. hog conglomerates who have moved to Mexico in order to take advantage of the lower labor costs.
For years, leading scientists around the world have worried that large-scale, indoor swine “factories” would become breeding grounds for new pathogens that could more easily infect humans and then spread out rapidly in the general population – threatening to become a global pandemic.
How do we avoid catching Swine Flu?
According to the CDC, spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads.
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
So, if you don’t want to get sick:
- Wash your hands.
- Try to stay in good general health.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Be physically active
- Manage your stress
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Eat nutritious food.
- Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Sounds like common sense to me.
- Avoid people or places where the virus is rampant – i.e cancel that trip to Cancun
- Assume that you will probably run into the virus at some point. Because of that, you need to wash your hands and avoid picking your nose.
- And even if you do all of that hand washing, you have to figure that some jerk on the bus is going to sneeze swine flu all over everybody else in the coming days. because of that, you want to keep your immune system as strong as possible.
And while I can’t help you with the hand washing, all it takes is a trip through my archives to find lots of ways to strengthen your immune system.But for those of you short on time, here is an introduction to immune strengthening:
- Exercise every day – cardio, resistance training, yoga, walking, dancing, etc…
- Eat real food
- Drink water
- Unplug from the world for at least 15 minutes each day – meditate, pray, watch a sunset…
- Stop watching Letterman and go to sleep at a decent hour
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