The worry and concern over a possible pandemic of avian influenza (bird flu) is widespread, and quite real. Avian influenza is perhaps one of the greatest threats to humans presently known, especially worrisome since most common antiviral medications have been found useless against avian influenza virus infections, and current influenza vaccines are also useless against this strain of avian influenza virus. The potential for mutation of the avian influenza strain to become able to pass from person to person and the possibility of a pandemic of bird flu is of the greatest concern. Many worry about this infection, and how they can avoid it. Here are five tips to help you avoid Bird Flu.
Get your facts straight. This is the age of information, and there is no excuse for ignorance. Nobody needs to be without the latest facts, and there is plenty of information available on the internet. Make sure you know what avian influenza (bird flu) is, what the symptoms are, and keep up to date on any recent outbreaks of this viral infection
This tip is just plain good common sense. A little common sense goes a long way. Wash your hands regularly, after using restrooms, before and after preparing and eating food, after coming into contact with animals, or when they are just plain dirty.
Avoid rubbing your nose, mouth, and eyes. Viruses are spread often by rubbing your eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with a contaminated surface. These are soft mucous membranes, and susceptible to infection.
Manners go about as far as common sense. When you were a child, you were most likely told about covering your mouth or nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing. Observe good manners, and cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and teach your children to do the same, and remind them often, as children often forget. Develop good sanitary habits and help your children to do the same. A hand or your elbow will do in a pinch, but a tissue or handkerchief is a more effective choice.
Avoid people who are ill, or at least minimize contact with them, and avoid others when you are ill. Take care when you wash your car or any surface that has or may have come into contact with bird feces (droppings). To date, most confirmed cases of bird flu have resulted from contact with feces or droppings, both by touching or inhaling microscopic fragments that are floating around in the air nearby.
It is important to remember that antibacterial soaps will not help, as bird flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Flu shots will not help either, as they are not developed for the particular stain of the avian influenza virus that causes bird flu. In fact, flu shots are believed to weaken the immune system which would make one more vulnerable to avian influenza (bird flu). Following the simple tips outlined above will help to keep you safe and healthy, and aid you in avoiding an infection of avian influenza.