The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains the swine influenza is a respiratory disease found in pigs that has recently spread to humans. The swine flu was first reported in the southwestern section of the United States in March of this year and has been found in various other portions of the country.
The CDC has confirmed that swine flu is contagious and can be passed from human-to-human and resembles the regular human flu. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. There have been reports of diarrhea and vomiting with swine flu.
The best method for preventing swine flu or any other similar communicable disease is hand washing. Wash hands with warm, soapy water frequently. Along with hand washing, staying active, managing stress levels and a proper balance of good nutrition, rest and fluids will help prevent the contracting of the virus.
In addition, avoid individuals who are sick and anyone who is sick should avoid individuals that have a greater risk of becoming ill such as the elderly, children and those with a weaken immune system.
Anyone experiencing "flu-like" symptoms should stay home from work or school and limit contact with others, recommends the CDC.
If symptoms persist for more than two days, contact a family physician to determine if there is a risk.
Anyone who is experiencing any of the following symptoms should seek emergency medical treatment immediately:
* Fast breathing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Bluish skin color
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
* Fever with a rash
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Severe or persistent vomiting
"We want members of community to be informed, not fearful," stated Dr. Lisa Martin, Putnam Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. "The more information you have, the less likely you are to become infected."
Swine Flu is treatable with medication once it has been diagnosed.
It should be noted that the swine flu cannot be contracted by eating pork or pork products. Eating foods that have been properly handled and prepared are safe.
Putnam County Hospital will continue to monitor the swine flu outbreak and will keep local residents aware of any situation that may affect the immediate area.
Anyone with concerns should contact a family physician, the hospital or the county health department.