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 Services
FIND 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.
Resources for Swine Flu Prevention
To help keep you healthy, FITNESS has put together the ultimate best-of-the-Web, stay-safe resource guide.
Swine Flu Overview
For the soup-to-nuts lowdown on the H1N1 virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the place to go. The CDC offers stay-healthy tips, vaccine updates, Q&As, and more. Bonus: You can become a fan of the CDC on Facebook and get your updates that way as well.
Round-the-Clock News on Swine Flu
FluGov -- a comprehensive government-wide info portal -- is tweeting about H1N1.
Pregnancy and Swine Flu
Expecting? Experts say you're at a higher risk for contracting swine flu. Learn everything you need to know about protecting yourself, including info on the vaccine, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Swine Flu Scams and Frauds
There are lots of products out there claiming to protect against H1N1. Before buying anything, go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration site for an up-to-date list of fraudulent goods.
Teaching Kids About Swine Flu
Elmo has joined the flu fight! He teamed up with the Department of Health and Human Services for a PSA encouraging better hygiene -- and flu protection -- among young children.
Video: How to Prevent Swine Flu
Sit back. Hit play. Listen and get educated with this comprehensive lesson from Patient Education Institute and MedlinePlus.
Worldwide Swine Flu Coverage
Stay in the global loop: Check out the World Health Organization for international H1N1 news.
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, September 2009.