What you need to know about swine flu

Last week you had no idea pigs even got the flu. This week it’s all anyone is talking about.

While there have been no cases of swine flu reported in our area at this point, the Southborough Fire Department wants to make sure you stay informed. “The important fact to remember is that it is very common in symptoms as the flu that we get in the winter. There is no reason to panic if people have flu-like symptoms,” Fire Chief John Mauro Jr. said.

Here’s some more information from the fire department’s website:

What is swine influenza (flu)?
Swine influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by a type of influenza virus. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Most commonly, human cases of swine flu happen in people who are around pigs but it’s possible for swine flu viruses to spread from one person to another.

In the United States there were 12 cases of swine flu in people from 2006 through 2008. In March and April 2009 there have been many more cases of swine flu than usual in both Mexico and the U.S. and the infections have spread from one person to another.

How can I protect myself and others from swine flu?
You can protect yourself and others from swine flu the same way that you can protect yourself from seasonal flu. Avoid holding, hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with anyone who has a cold or the flu.

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Clean things that are touched often like door handles, telephones, etc.

If you get sick with a flu-like illness say home from work and school and avoid contact with others so the virus does not spread.

For links to more information on swine flu, visit the Southborough Fire Department website.

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Dick Snyder
15 years ago

A few factoids about the 1918 “Spanish Flu” Pandemic about which we are reminded all the time in the news about the current swine flu:

In 1918 the population of the US was about 100 million people. 500,000 Americans died or .5 percent. The world deaths were about 50 million in 1918. There were roughly 1.8 billion people in the world at that time so the percentage that died was 2.7%. 5% in India.

What is the US and world population now you ask? We are about 306 million here and the world population is 6.9 billion (we are less than 5% of the world population)

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