The H1N1 flu virus, or “swine flu,” has infected people in 20 countries. This includes people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
How can you protect yourself from this new virus?
The CDC advises you to get plenty of sleep. This will help your body to maintain a strong immune system.
In January the Sleep Education Blog reported on a study linking sleep and the immune system. Participants were exposed to a “rhinovirus” – the common cold.
People who reported sleeping less than seven hours per night were three times more likely to develop a cold. The AASM recommends that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
To keep from getting the flu, the CDC also recommends that you wash your hands often. Keep active, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
The CDC advises you to stay home from work or school if you develop symptoms of the flu. These include a fever, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue. Stay home for seven days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
If you feel sick you may want to contact your doctor. He or she will determine if flu testing or treatment is needed.
Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug for you. This type of medicine can make your illness milder and help you feel better faster.
The two antiviral drugs approved by the FDA for treating the H1N1 flu virus are Tamiflu and Relenza. Currently there are no licensed vaccines for the H1N1 flu virus.
The FDA, FTC and Health Canada all report that some Internet sites may sell products with the false claim that they will prevent or cure the H1N1 virus. You should contact your doctor before buying any of these products online.
Image by Robert Terrell