Have you ever heard of a swine flu party? Reading about these sorties caught me by surprise; we do not mean to offend anyone’s beliefs, but we certainly do not agree to the point behind such a gathering. Apparently, there are parties where the “guest of honor” is someone who is sick with swine flu. The guests then hope against hope that they catch the virus, get sick with a mild illness, and gain immunity.
This is not such a good idea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it is only one of a few things that anyone should not do when it comes to preventing swine flu.
Another one is to think that if you already have the seasonal flu vaccine, then you should be all set. The reason behind why there are efforts towards developing a specific vaccine for swine flu is precisely because the seasonal flu vaccine is not going to cut it. While those of us who do not fall under the priority demographic for swine flu vaccine will have to wait for our turn, there is a need to get both vaccines if we would like to be protected.
Donning a face mask also does not mean guaranteed protection. It will work, though, in conjunction with other prevention steps such as washing your hands often and avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth. The CDC does recommend that sick people wear a face mask in order to avoid infecting others. Also, face masks are meant to be worn once and then discarded; don’t wear one, stick it in a drawer somewhere, and keep it for use another day.
Do not forget to clean up – whether it is at home or at your tiny cubicle in the office. Flu viruses have a tendency to stick around on doorknobs, tables, linens – basically anything and everything that you touch or that touches you. If someone in your household has the flu and you have to wash the linens, don’t hug the laundry on your way to the washer and set your dryer to hot. After handling dirty laundry, do not forget to wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.