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Swine Flu FAQ

Answers to your questions about swine flu.

What else should I be doing during the swine flu pandemic? continued...

Here's the advice from the U.S. government's pandemicflu.gov web site:

To plan for a pandemic:

  • Store a two-week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
  • Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
  • Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.

Items to have on hand for an extended stay at home:

Examples of food and non-perishables

Examples of medical, health, and emergency supplies

•         Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups

•         Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment

•         Protein or fruit bars

•         Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash

•         Dry cereal or granola

•         Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen

•         Peanut butter or nuts

•         Thermometer

•         Dried fruit

•         Anti-diarrheal medication

•         Crackers

•         Vitamins

•         Canned juices

•         Fluids with electrolytes

•         Bottled water

•         Cleansing agent/soap

•         Canned or jarred baby food and formula

•         Flashlight

•         Pet food

•         Batteries

•         Other non-perishable items

•         Portable radio

 

•         Manual can opener

 

•         Garbage bags

 

•         Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers

 

How severe is swine flu?

Theseverity of cases in the current swine flu outbreak has varied widely, from mild cases to fatalities. Most U.S. cases have been mild, but there have been a number of tragic deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations -- mostly in young people aged 5 to 24. Pregnant women have been particularly vulnerable to severe flu and death.

Like seasonal flu, children who get swine flu can have serious neurological complications such as seizures and Reye's syndrome. But as with seasonal flu, these complications fortunately are rare.

Studies of the swine flu virus show that it is more infectious to lung cells than are seasonal flu viruses. But studies also suggest that the swine flu virus is less well adapted to humans and may be harder to inhale deep into the lungs.

Flu viruses change all the time. The way the pandemic swine flu virus evolved suggests that it is particularly liable to swap gene segments with other flu viruses. But so far, the swine flu virus hasn't changed much. That's good news, as the vast majority of swine flu cases have been mild. And it's also good news for the swine flu vaccine, which is based on swine flu strains isolated early in the pandemic.

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