How to Protect Yourself from H1N1
Swine Flu Alert
As of early this fall, more than 296,000 cases of the H1N1 virus (aka swine flu) had been reported worldwide. Experts say the number will multiply during the cold-weather months, when influenza viruses thrive. Help protect yourself this winter with these stay-healthy strategies:
- Suds up. Wash hands often with soap and warm water.
- Stand apart. Spend limited time in crowded areas.
- Sleep plentifully. Get seven to nine hours nightly to help maintain immune function.
- Spot the symptoms. Fever, lethargy, coughing and lack of appetite, and possibly runny nose, sore throat, nausea, and diarrhea, are all warning signs.
- Speak up. Ask your doctor about antiviral drugs Tamiflu or Relenza (about 70 to 90 percent effective at preventing the flu) or the H1N1 vaccine, once it's approved and available, especially if you are pregnant, a healthcare worker, or caring for an infant, or if you have other health conditions that increase risk.
Sources: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human ServicesFIND A SWINE FLU/H1N1 SHOT
Google has launched the super-helpful Flu Shot Finder feature, which lets you locate clinics that offer H1N1 or seasonal flu vaccines near you. While the service is not available nation-wide yet (20 states so far), it is expected to expand soon. Remember: Shot supply changes regularly, so call ahead to confirm availability.
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