Follow the H1N1 outbreak on Google Maps.
- Bring your own TP, soap and paper towels if you must use a public restroom.
- Avoid crowds.
- Avoid hospitals and doctor's offices.
- Understand that the virus is not very hearty, it often dies when dried out. It infects usually by traveling in water droplets.
- Simple paper masks keep you from spreading the virus, not from getting it.
- Better is a NIOSH-Approved N95 Disposable Particulate Respirator, this improves your odds, but won't block the virus either:
"N95" is the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) standard that specifies a mask that will trap 95 percent of particles 0.3 microns or larger. A sneeze or cough generates a droplet about 4 microns or larger. An influenza virus is .1 microns in size, way too small to be trapped by a mask.- zd
The water droplets in a cough or sneeze are in the range of 3-10 microns. ... N95 masks are 95% efficient at blocking particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size. So N95 masks offer protection against the droplets. (0.3 microns is also the size of the SARS virus which is a Corona virus, not an Influenza virus.) Flu virus, like H1N1 from 1918 and H5N1 today is more like 0.1 microns and they can float in the air without water droplets. - flutrackers
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after you cough.
All soap kills bacteria. Soap breaks open bacteria due to surface tension. It also makes things not stick so you can rinse bacteria, viruses and dirt away. Does soap kill viruses? Some say yes:
scientists – with the Poultry Research Institute, in Rawalpindi, and the National Veterinary Laboratory, in Islamabad – claim theirs is the first published peer-reviewed study on the use of commercially available soaps and detergents to kill the bird flu-causing H5N1 virus, although the practice was previously recommended as early as 2005.
They tested the effect of common soap brands such as Lifebuoy and detergents such as Surf Excel, as well as heat, ultraviolet light and pH (the degree of acidity of the sample) on the virus obtained from infected poultry samples during an outbreak in Pakistan in 2006. They found that common soap and detergent brands can kill the virus at a minimum soap/detergent concentration of 0.1% in five minutes, and almost immediately at higher concentrations. - cosmos
A feb 2009 study also says yes:
Conclusion: ... soap and water hand washing [SW] is highly effective in reducing influenza A virus on human hands. - From: Efficacy of Soap and Water and Alcohol‐Based Hand‐Rub Preparations against Live H1N1 Influenza Virus on the Hands of Human Volunteers
Some say no:
There is no no generally marketed household detergent that when used according to manufacturer's instructions inactivates H1N1 or any other virus to any noticeable degree. - hubpages
- The CDC says 70% ethanol, 5% Lysol or 10% bleach is sufficient to disinfect it.
- At this time, CDC recommends oseltamivir or zanamivir (which are neuraminidase inhibitors) for treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. (Occasional side effects = delirium, confusion, and trying to hurt yourself. These are also the most expensive.)
- Cover your mouth when you cough.
- Know the symptoms: "fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea." - cdc
- If you might have it, stay home!
Nova Scotia's chief public health officer said today that the east coast Canadian province has four confirmed cases of swine flu. And in Mexico, the country's health minister said the disease had killed up to 86 people and likely sickened more than 1,400 since April 13.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the government would release a quarter of its 50-million-unit strategic reserve of antiviral medications, which combat the disease in infected patients, to states where outbreaks have occurred. Besser said the CDC has begun laying the groundwork to manufacture a swine flu vaccine if one becomes necessary.
The officials cast the moves as aggressive but precautionary, and they counseled calm.
Swine flu is "serious enough to be a great concern to this White House and to this government," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on NBC'S "Meet the Press," adding that President Obama is receiving frequent updates on the situation. - lat
Swine Flu Fears Prompt Global Quarantine Plans:
Mexico City cancels all public events:
This virus is a mix of human, pig and bird strains that has epidemiologists around the world deeply concerned. The World Health Organization convened in Geneva Saturday to consider whether to declare an international public health emergency - a step that could lead to travel advisories, trade restrictions and border closures.
The agency's director-general, Margaret Chan, said the outbreak involves "an animal strain of the H1N1 virus, and it has pandemic potential" - but it is too early to say whether a pandemic will actually occur.
The CDC and Canadian health officials were studying samples sent from Mexico, and some governments in Asia and Latin America began monitoring passengers arriving on flights from Mexico.
But it may be too late to contain the outbreak, given how widespread the known cases are. If the confirmed deaths are the first signs of a pandemic, then cases are probably incubating around the world by now, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota.
The same virus also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths north of the border, puzzling experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No vaccine specifically protects against swine flu, and it is unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer. - examiner
Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can't yet explain why.
"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."
At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.
Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas. - sfgate