What is Swine Flu and How to Protect Yourself

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Posted 26 Apr 2009 in Soulville

SoulvilleHey everybody! I know “Soulville” has been absent lately (school rocks!), but I wanted to share some public health info about swine flu with you. A lot of people are really freaking out, but at the moment we don’t know if it’s something to freak out about and freaking out won’t help anything anyway.

Anti-Flu stockpile
Creative Commons License photo credit: Terekhova

1. Swine flu has happened in people before. Pigs can get people flu and we can get swine flu. Simple as that. It passes the same way as the flu you’re used to, so take the same precautions you normally do. Wash your hands (as long as it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” or the “ABCs”), cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid people that are sick, don’t go to work if you don’t feel well, clean common surfaces like doorknobs, etc. You can help control how this passes if you do the right things.

2. Just like the regular people flu, kids and the elderly are at high risk for complications. But everyone can get it so if you start feeling sick, go get medical treatment. If you get any of the below symptoms, do not pass go, do not collect $200. “I don’t have insurance” is not an excuse.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • 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 worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Wait - I recognise that slogan
Creative Commons License photo credit: TomNatt

3. You can’t get it by eating pork. Matter of fact, I’m so sure I am eating a pork chop right now. Yummy! Seriously though, it can’t pass through pork or pork products. So continue buying pork products if you do already.

4. Don’t freak! The more you stress your body with stress, lack of sleep, lack of proper nutrition, lack of exercise, etc. the more fatigued your body becomes and the more susceptible you are to any illness. Take care of you and yours.

For more info, check the CDC website, which is constantly being updated or watch this super cool podcast or check the podcasts of any of the news updates (every news conference is made into a podcast).

Check those sites for the latest updates on information. I’m a public health professional so I’ll try to help if I can, but do know swine flu is not one of my specific areas of expertise so I might have to do some digging.


HarriMac enjoys a well lived life with a large serving of soul. Her special feature, Welcome to Soulville, appears every Thursday.

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6 Comments

  1. Very good info thanks!

  2. Glad you liked!

  3. Some people have said that it isn’t safe to eat pork, but the USDA says it is perfectly safe to eat the other white meat. Your thoughts?

  4. HarriMac

    the USDA and the CDC and other agencies are right. you can’t get this from eating pork or pork products. now if you had contact with a live pig, that’s different.

  5. Well I haven’t eaten pork in awhile so it doesn’t affect me much. But I probably would still be leery now about eating it if I had to.

  6. HarriMac

    it’s always a personal choice. this is a virus. if it were a bacteria (like salmonella), i would see a reason to worry, especially if i preferred to cook meat to less than well done.