- PANDEMICS -
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population; begins to cause serious illness; and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide. A worldwide influenza pandemic could have a major effect on the global economy, including travel, trade, tourism, food, consumption and eventually, investment and financial markets. Planning for pandemic influenza by business and industry is essential to minimize a pandemic’s impact.
It is difficult to predict when the next influenza pandemic will occur or how severe it will be. Wherever and whenever a pandemic starts, everyone around the world is at risk. Countries might, through measures such as border closures and travel restrictions, delay arrival of the virus, but cannot stop it.
During a pandemic, transmission can be anticipated in the workplace, not only from patient to workers in health care settings, but also among co-workers in general work settings. A pandemic would cause high levels of illness, death, social disruption, and economic loss. Everyday life would be disrupted because so many people in so many places become seriously ill at the same time. Impacts could range from school and business closings to the interruption of basic services such as public transportation and food delivery.
Education and outreach are critical to preparing for a pandemic. Understanding what a pandemic is, what needs to be done at all levels to prepare for pandemic influenza, and what could happen during a pandemic helps us make informed decisions both as individuals and as a nation. Should a pandemic occur the public must be able to depend on its government to provide scientifically sound public health information quickly, openly and dependably.
The current swine flu (H1N1 influenza) pandemic represents the greatest threat to life that this planet has seen in decades. Not only is this a previously unseen strain of the subtype H1N1 influenza A virus but it incorporates a combination of several viruses. There is genetic material from four different virus sources, those being the North American swine influenza viruses, North American avian influenza viruses, human influenza viruses and swine influenza viruses found in Asia and Europe.
A brief history of Influenza A
Swine flu is a form of the influenza A virus that can be transferred from pigs or swine as the name suggests to humans. Unlike Avian influenza which could only be contracted via close contact with birds, this strain of swine flu is contracted via human to human contact. Swine flu is not a new disease, in fact it has probably been with us since the domestication of pigs and reached epidemic proportions on numerous occasions under varying descriptions.
What is swine flu
Quite simply it is a strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1. This is a variation of the regular influenza strain for which we get our influenza immunization each year. Unfortunately the current immunization does not currently protect us from swine flu, however you can guarantee that researchers will feverishly working toward an effective vaccine as you read this. This form of swine flu appears to be particularly virulent and its spread is occurring at a much accelerated rate.
Essential Flu Pandemic Preparations
Early preparations should include building a store of food and drinks to save you going out if you contract the disease. Additionally such things as face mouths, facemasks and handcleaners will help the tranfer to non effected members of your family. The use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), relenza (zanamivir) and other anti virals may assist in avoiding contracting the swine flu, minimise illness sevirty and assist in your recovery. These are avialable as capsules, in liquid form or as an inhaler. Although not a total preventitive the antivirals have an average 75% effectiveness when used as directed. Health professionals have been specifically catered for with stores of these drugs held on hand to treat front line medical staff.
Preparation is essential for this pandemic!. Here we have given you suggestions which will assist you to get through these challenging times with the minimum disruption to your life.
Provisions should be purchased for several of the following reasons,
Should you become Ill it will be necessary to isolate yourself to stop you from spreading the virus further. Isolating yourself will assist in stopping you and your family from contracting this disease. In the event of a protracted outbreak it is expected that services may well be disrupted. This means that commerce could well grind to a halt as workers fall sick and are unable to undertake their work causing backups in food distrubtuion, waste disposal and genral services. Don’t be alarmed – Just be prepared!
Canned and dried foods for up to several weeks, sufficient clean drinking water, face masks and medical supplies including wipes, enough of your usual medicines for an extended period, food for pets, a radio, torch and batteries to run them.
Precautions to avoid this flu
As is the same with most diseases, prevention is the best precaution against swine flu. Keeping yourself well with adequate sleep, maintaining a good diet and looking after yourself help in maintaining your immune system to fight off many diseases before they can take over your body. This flu strain however is not one that has been encountered by human immune systems previously, so few if any will have antibodies to defend themselves with.
Simple alternativee measures will help prevent contracting this disease and assist in not spreading it further to others. Washing your hands before eating, resisting touching your face, particulalry your mouth and nose and rubbing your eyes can make it much more difficult for the virus to enter your body. Avoid going into areas with large crowds and buildings with poor ventialtion. In fact where possible minimze contact with others till such time as this threat passes.
Travel of any kind should be avoided as should any large congregations. Sporting events, attending school and college where positive cases have been identified are serious risk areas and officials will guide you whether you should attend or not. Please heed medical advice and warnings given by government officials as this will help us contain this deadly virus and minimize its impact on the country and the world.
Immunization against influenza
While there is currently an influenza immunization for the regular influenza A virus it does not protect against the swine flu version of this disease. At this time there no available vacine for the swine flu, however it is almost certain that there will be one released within months covering one or more variants. This however is not a garantee that you will be immune as influenza virii are notorious for their abilit to mutate into new forms and resist attempts to imunize against them.
Prevention is the best option we all have at this time, and this is done by avoiding contact with infected persons where ever possible. Please read our other information for further details or subscribe to our emergency email alerts to stay informed.
Most at risk flu groups
Unlike many other flus’ swine flu is showing no preference for the aged, sick or injured. In fact interim reports from Mexican health authorities suggest young strong fit and healthy individuals are every bit as susceptable to the swine influenza virus as anyone else. In essence this means we are all at similar risk of infection from swine flu and as such should all take every care to avoid contracting it. The virulence of this virus means that precautions must be taken to assist in avoiding its contraction.
Swine Flu Symptoms
Joint pain, respitory distress, aches and pains, vomiting, headaches nausea and diahoerea are the most likely symptoms. Keep in mind many forms of influenza exist and their symptoms are somewhat similar so it may take a test to conclusively determine that you have swine flu. The incubation period appears to 2 to 7 days which is rather typical for the influenza virus. Care should be taken as there is the potential for this disease to lead to pneumonia.
Treatments for Influenza
Luckily two of our best antivirals appear to be effective against swine flu. Tamiflu and Relenza both are showing good results in improving the condition of those that have contracted swine flu. Strategic national stockpiles of these drugs are held by many countries around the world and area ear marked primarily for essential services personal followed by the general population. Other simpler treatments include remaining hydrated and getting bed rest while avoiding contact with other where ever possible.
Help stop this flu spreading
If you have contracted the flu please do not go out into public unless extremely necessary and wear a mask to stop spraying and minimize spreading the virus via sneezing or coughing. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze then immiediately disposing of it into a trash bin is also strongly recomended. If you exhibit flu like symptoms or feel ill stay home from school, work or other such activities to stop from potentially spreading this flu. In fact it may become very possible that sporting events, schools and gathering of other kinds will be forbidden for a period to reduce the impact of this virus. Travel plans should be delayed or cancelled unless absolutely essential. Extending this pandemic any further will only cost more lives so please keep this in mind with everything you do. A small inconvenience to your life may save anothers. Explain to your family the reality of this disease and the precaustions they should be taking to prevent them from contracting swine flu and transfering it on to the rest of your family.
Origins of the Swine Flu
While this virus may have originated from pigs, eating properly prepared pork products represents no danger to human health from this virus. Bacon, pork and all other pig products most likely do not carry the swine flu so there is no chance of contracting this virus from eating them as the cooking process will destroy the virus. Normal safe food handling and good hygiene practices should be followed and it is recommended eating at home to reduce the possibilty of transmission.
Seeking Medical Attention for Influenza
If you have symptoms of swine flu and wish to seek medical attention you should first contact your doctor or hospital and advise them of your situation. It is possible that they may wish to know your travel history and current symptoms so as to direct you to an isolation area to dianose you if they suspect swine flu. This should not be of concern as it is only an intelligent measure to restrict the spread of the disease to other uninfected patients.
Antiviral treatments for Influenza
One good thing coming from this current is the news that currently our best treatments for influenza are working well against the swine flu (H1N1 influenza). Relenza and Tamiflu are producing excellent results in inhibiting this virus and aiding in the rapid improvement of those that have contracted the disease.
These commercially available drugs are available for distribution to essential personnel in many countries from their pandemic preparedness stockpiles. Unfortunately for the general public only limited stocks are available from some drug stores and many are now sold out. Major online stores carry extensive and are highly recommended for those looking to buy Relenza or Tamiflu online.