Is the Swine Flu Becoming a Pandemic?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised its threat level to 4, which means that it can no longer be contained. Cases have been reported around the world, including Europe. Flights are still coming in from Mexico, although travelers are being checked for signs of flu upon arrival. People are being discouraged, however, from traveling to Mexico. If the Swine Flu does develop into a Pandemic we are not prepared. Hospitals do not have enough respirators and other much needed equipment, and health facilities are likely to be overwhelmed with new cases. This new virus has never been seen, and there is no-one with immunity, so the likelihood of it becoming widespread is high. Currently Tamiflu and Relenza are working against this strain of flu, so that is encouraging, but if an large amount of people contract the virus, there may not be enough to go around.

Tips for avoiding contracting the virus include:
  • Wash your hands often and for at least 30 seconds. Be sure to include fingertips
  • Keep hands away from your face
  • Stay at least 3 to 6 feet away from people, and do not shake hands or kiss when greeting
  • Stay away from anyone who is coughing or showing signs of illness
  • Stay away from hospitals unless you develop a high fever of 101 degrees or more. You may help spread the disease and contribute to overwhelmed hospital staff otherwise.
  • Educate your children about the virus.
Above all, do not panic. Be sure to keep on top of the most recent updates in your own area and what you might need to do in order to avoid infection.

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