VIRUS INGINE HIYO / SWINE FLU
Here's what you need to know about the Swine Flu:
Tujihadhari kabla ya hatari kila siku inatokea Virus mpya na mbaya zaidi, Kwa kujikinga tufate yalioandikwa chini mola atunusuru na virus hizi.
Currently, the media have made us aware of a never-before-seen strain of swine flu that has turned killer in Mexico and is causing milder illness in many parts of the world. While authorities say it's not time to panic, they are taking steps to stem the spread and also urging people to pay close attention to the latest health warnings and take their own precautions.
"Individuals have a key role to play," Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Monday.
Q: What is swine flu?
A: Pigs spread their own strains of influenza and every so often people catch one, usually after contact with the animals. This new strain is a mix of pig viruses with some human and bird viruses. Unlike more typical swine flu, it is spreading person-to-person.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: They're similar to regular human flu — a fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also have diarrhoea and vomiting.
Q: How do I protect myself and my family?
A: For now, take commonsense precautions. Cover your coughs and sneezes, with a tissue that you throw away or by sneezing into your elbow rather than your hand. Wash hands frequently; if soap and water aren't available, use hand gels. Stay home if you're sick and keep children home from school if they are not keeping well.
Q: How easy is it to catch this virus?
A: Scientists don't yet know if it takes fairly close or prolonged contact with someone who's sick, or if it's more easily spread. But in general, flu viruses spread through uncovered coughs and sneezes or — and this is important — by touching your mouth or nose with unwashed hands. Flu viruses can live on surfaces for several hours, like a doorknob just touched by someone who sneezed into his hand.
Q: Is swine flu treatable?
A: Yes, with the flu drugs Tamiflu or Relenza,
Q: Should I take Tamiflu as a precaution if I'm not sick yet?
A: No. On the other hand, overusing these antiviral drugs can help germs become resistant to them.
Q: How big is my risk?
A: For most people, very low. Outside of Mexico, so far clusters of illnesses seem related to Mexican travel.
Q: Should I cancel my planned trip to Mexico?
A: Avoid nonessential travel there.
Q: How do I know if I should see a doctor? Maybe my symptoms are from something else?
A: Health authorities say if you live in places where swine flu cases have been confirmed, or you recently travelled to Mexico, and you have flu like symptoms, ask your doctor if you need treatment or to be tested. Allergies won't cause a fever. And usual stomach bugs won't be accompanied by respiratory symptoms, notes Dr. Wayne Reynolds of Newport News, spokesman for the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Q: Is there a vaccine to prevent this new infection?
A: No. And initial testing by the CDC of the United States suggests that last winter's flu shot didn't offer any cross-protection.