H1N1 (sometimes called “swine flu”) is a new influenza virus . This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in the virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America.

 

Declared a pandemic by WHO, more than 1.4 million cases have been recorded so far globally, killing about 25,000 people. About 480 cases have been recorded so far in Ghana with no deaths, as of April 4, 2010.

 

The virus is spread from person to person through droplets released during sneezing or coughing. One can also be infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touching his/her eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can stay alive on a contaminated object for about 2-8 hours. One DOES NOT get infected by eating pork.

Symptoms of H1N1 influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may have diarrhoea and vomiting.

If you have any of these symptoms, report to the nearest health facility for advice.

Infected individuals are advised to stay at home and prevent the spread of the virus by covering their mouths with a tissue paper or handkerchief whilst coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for about 20 seconds after blowing your nose.

Soiled tissue papers should be properly disposed. Avoid sharing handkerchiefs and wash all used ones with soap and water.

In order not to get infected, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water and especially after attending social gatherings like funerals, church services, engagement etc. Alcohol-based sanitizers can also be used. Avoid close contact with infected individuals. If your lover has flu, please do not kiss him/her until after recovery.

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