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Swine Flu: 10 Things Not to Do

Why you should nix swine flu parties, and other swine flu don'ts.

8. Don't leave home if you've got flu-like symptoms.

Those symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue; diarrhea and vomiting may also be symptoms of swine flu.

Unless you're going to get medical care, stay home to avoid infecting others. That means not going to work or school, not running your normal errands, and not traveling. By staying home, you'll help prevent other people from getting sick.

How long do you need to stay home? The CDC recommends waiting until at least 24 hours after you are free of fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or signs of fever, without taking fever-reducing medicines.

9. Don't rush to the emergency room unless you have certain symptoms.

The CDC urges people to seek emergency medical care for a sick child with any of these symptoms:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and cough

And here is the CDC's list of symptoms that should trigger emergency medical care for adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Having a high fever for more than three days is another danger sign, according to the WHO.

10. If you're a parent, don't forget to teach your kids swine flu prevention.

Children need to do the same things as adults -- stay home when sick, avoid sick people, cough and sneeze into a tissue, and wash their hands.

The CDC recommends teaching kids to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice while washing their hands with soap and water, so that they wash their hands for 20 seconds. Another CDC suggestion: Tell kids to stay at least 6 feet away from people who are sick.

Those pointers also work for grown-ups.

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Reviewed on July 06, 2009

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