Because there is no vaccine for swine flu, the best protection you can have is to avoid being contaminated in the first place.
The flu is contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to five days afterward. Droplets from the mouth and nose spread inﬂuenza, so when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or touches any surface, the virus is spread.
In addition, viruses can live on a cold surface for three days.
Follow these guidelines to reduce your risk of infection:
Wash Your Hands Frequently.
- If you are unsure about how long is "long enough," wash your hands for the length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.
- Make sure to wash your hand before eating, after sneezing or coughing, after shaking someone's hand, and after touching anything at all that could possibly be contaminated.
- To get maximum benefit from hand-washing, use hot water, soap, and a follow-up hand sanitizer such as Purell.
Avoid Touching Anything that could be Contaminated.
- Be somewhat obsessive about not touching contaminated surfaces.
- Try not to touch things that are frequently used by others such as doorknobs, handrails, "community" keypads or pens.
- Consider wearing gloves when pushing a shopping cart, or using a paper towel to open the door of a public restroom after you have washed your hands.
- Try to avoid shaking hands with others, or kissing them on the cheeks.
- Carry a hand sanitizer with you.
- Most of all, train yourself not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes.
- Avoid crowds, if possible, and stay away from people who are coughing or obviously sick.
- Try to fly less frequently, as one sick person on an airplane can infect all passengers.
Buy a "N95 certified" Flu Mask or a "NanoMask."
- In case the Swine Flu epidemic hits your neighborhood, be prepared.
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