The recent outbreak of swine flu has been a hot topic of discussion and for good reason. About 4,000 candidate cases have been reported in several countries across the world. The first reports came out of Mexico when a new illness with flu-like symptoms was found. There have been 13 reported deaths from the illness. Of those 13, 12 were in Mexico and 1 in the US. The outbreak is currently a level 5 pandemic.
The virus has spread though out the US and become a serious issue in many states. Numerous schools have shut down to reduce the chance of the virus spreading. Athletics in both Texas and Alabama high schools have been shut down entirely. These steps taken to prevent spread of the virus show the seriousness of the issue.
The swine flu is actually somewhat inaccurately named. While it is no doubt a type of swine influenza, it is not a virus that is being contracted from pigs. It is only a human-to-human issue at this point. The virus is a new strain that has formed from 4 known, component strains. The components are a strain of the human influenza virus, a strain of the avian influenza virus and two strains of swine influenza virus. Since swine flu is a newly detected virus, there is not yet a vaccination for the virus.
Preventing Contraction of the Swine Flu
The tips to avoiding swine flu are basically the same as for the normal human flu. You should frequently wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap. If you cough, you should cough into a napkin and dispose of the napkin and wash your hands. At a minimum, make sure that you always cover nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
The Need for Health Insurance
Given the fast spread of swine flu, it is important to have health insurance so that we can afford to get the care that we need to fight the new virus. Since there is not yet a vaccination, there might be a long road to recovery. The bills that result will likely make a difficult time even more stressful. With a good health care plan, this added stress will not be an issue.