Swine flu cases may have been steadily decreasing over the summer – but experts are expecting a surge in new cases in the next few months.
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The main reason is that cooler weather means more of us group together indoors and so are more likely to pass on viruses to one another.
Once released into the air via coughs and sneezes, some viruses can live for several hours on surfaces such as tables, doorknobs and desks, which is why keeping hands clean is so important.
Antibacterial washes and wipes will kill some viruses and are great for protecting surfaces against potential sources of tummy bugs.
According to Professor Wendy Barclay, chair of Influenza Virology at Imperial College London, there are some basic steps people can take to protect themselves from swine flu and other seasonal flu, coughs and colds.
Top tips for preventing swine flu:-
*KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN: Wash them thoroughly and frequently – especially before eating or preparing food – and rinse under clean running water to remove any infected mucous.
*DRY YOUR HANDS AFTER WASHING: Wet hands are more likely to pick up and spread germs.
*KEEP HANDS AWAY FROM THE FACE: If someone sneezes and then opens a door, the next person to touch the handle will come into direct contact with the virus. So, do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you’ve washed your hands.
*SNEEZE INTO A TISSUE- THEN BIN IT: Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and then dispose of the tissue carefully. Don’t leave it hanging around or re-use it several times.
AVOID OVER-USE OF HAND GELS: Don’t rush out and buy dozens of hand gels to use on the move. They’re useful in situations where there are no washrooms. But if you have access to soap and water at the end of a journey, use that as it is just as effective.
KEEP SURFACES CLEAN: Proprietary sprays are fine, but a mild solution of washing-up liquid and water works equally well.
OPEN A WINDOW: Humidifiers and air purifiers may be effective, but they are still not fully tested against the swine flu virus. One of the most efficient ways to clear the air and dilute the virus is simply to open a window.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF: The body’s own immune system offers the best protection from illness. Eating a good and varied diet, drinking plenty of water and taking regular exercise are the best ways to stay healthy and avoid getting the disease in the first place. Plus, if you or your family do succumb to swine flu, being in good health will help everyone to shrug it off quickly and without complications.
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Source: mail Online 20th. Sept. 2009
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