Flu Guru

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Swine Flu Q & A

What is swine flu?

The headlines in the paper tell of the H1N1 flu and the possibility that it could be a return of the Spanish flu, but is this flu the same as the swine flu that affects pigs? Many people wonder what is the swine flu and is there a difference between it and the pandemic flu virus. There is a difference, but it is mainly in who is infected by the virus rather than the symptoms or treatment.

Can I get swine flu from live pigs?

Only in rare instances have pigs given the swine flu to people, but it seems that an increasing number of cases have been reported of people passing the H1N1 flu, formerly known as the swine flu, on to pigs. This twist troubles pig farmers who are concerned for the health of their livestock. Some farmers have turned to vaccinating their pigs against the swine flu in hopes of preventing the illness from ravaging their numbers.

Does eating pork cause swine flu?

Pork products, when cooked above 160 degrees Fahrenheit are safe to consume. This temperature kills viruses, parasites and bacteria in the meat which might cause illnesses, including those which might lead to food poisoning. As long as the meat is properly cooked, there is no fear of contamination.

What is swine flu called now?

In search of a more accurate term, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) decided to rename the swine flu in humans as the H1N1 flu. This more accurately describes the type of flu virus. Swine flu is typically now reserved for cases of influenza in pigs.

Is there a swine flu shot I can get?

An H1N1 flu vaccine is in the works, and it will be made available to high risk groups in the late fall of 2009. Pregnant women, health care workers, and those with chronic medical conditions are urged to get both the swine flu vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine. Both are needed for the best protection during the flu season.

How can I protect myself from swine flu?

Asking a doctor: "What is swine flu prevention?" is one way to start. He will likely suggest the usual recommendations for remaining healthy during a flu season: frequent hand washing, covering the mouth from coughs or sneezes, and staying home if sick. For those at high risk for being among the swine flu deaths, a vaccine for the swine flu will be given in addition to the seasonal flu as soon as they are both available.

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