The FLU PREVENTION email currently making the rounds (copy of email is at the bottom of this post) is a hoax. Some of it is good advice, but some may be of no proven value whatsoever and may give you a false sense of security or even increase your likelihood of contracting the flu or other diseases.
As in all things, excercise caution and utilize common sense.
If you decide to follow unproven advice for unsubstantiated sources, please be aware of the risks you may be taking with your health and the health of friends, associates, family.
Here is the recommended best advice to protect from catching and spreading the flu as provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
CDC ADVICE for Flu Prevention
1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.*
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
5. Stay home for at least 24 hours if you are sick with flu-like illness after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
6. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
7. Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.
Additional Advice from The Mayo Clinic and the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Stay home if you’re sick. If you do have swine flu, you can give it to others starting about 24 hours before you develop symptoms and ending about seven days later. As a courtesy to others, do your best to stay out of the emergency room, doctor’s office or urgent-care center. You don’t want to risk infecting anyone else — particularly in a medical facility, where others receiving care may be especially vulnerable to the flu.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Use soap and water, or if they’re unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Flu viruses can survive for two hours or longer on surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops.
- Avoid contact. Stay away from crowds if possible.
- Reduce exposure within your household. If a member of your household has swine flu, designate one other household member to be responsible for the ill person’s close personal care.
- Cover your mouth and nose
Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Discard used tissues immediately. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
- Wash your hands frequently
Use soap and water or, when traveling or when water is scarce, an alcohol-based (60 to 95 percent) hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of infection. It’s especially important to wash your hands before handling food or touching your nose, mouth or eyelids. When you wash, use warm water and soap and scrub for at least 15 seconds. Even with washing, avoid touching your mouth or eyes with your fingers.
- Stay healthy
It’s impossible to know how or whether a flu pandemic, for example, might take shape, but being in good health can help protect you. A healthy body means a strong immune system that fights off infection. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and not smoking are all things you can do to maintain good health.
- Consider wearing a mask
A respiratory mask may prevent you from inhaling airborne particles from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes. The snug-fitting N95 face mask is the gold standard for infection protection.
- Wear gloves
Consider wearing latex gloves when caring for someone with flu, as gloves may reduce the risk of direct contact with influenza viruses (but still wash your hands). Use latex-free gloves if you have a latex allergy.
- Keep your home and work areas clean
Use disinfecting wipes or cleanser to clean such common surfaces as door handles, phones, computer keyboards, countertops and tools.
- Keep your distance
In the event of a pandemic, avoid public areas, work from home, avoid unnecessary travel, stay three to six feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing, and avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.
- Get a seasonal flu shot
Although your yearly flu shot won’t protect you from the swine flu or bird flu, it’s still protective against the more-common seasonal flu viruses. It’s also a precaution against the possibility of getting simultaneous infections with both the common flu and the swine flu or bird flu. This is important because simultaneous infections are the main way that viruses swap genes and create new strains that potentially can cause flu pandemics.
MORE ON HOAX EMAIL
Below are quotes from a San Diego 8 News Station regarding this email. The full story is at the link above.
"Some people will try anything to keep from getting sick. An email is going around with a list of home remedies that supposedly can keep you from getting swine flu…"
""Now a new email says a doctor in India suggests things like nasal cleansing and gargling with warm salt water to prevent H1N1, but can it really?""
""I don’t even know of any evidence basis for gargling preventing influenza,” Dr. Randy Taplitz said.""
"The email also suggests drinking warm liquids to wash viruses off and into the stomach, where they cannot survive. Another recommendation is to boost your natural immunity with foods or supplements rich in vitamin C."
"But Dr. Taplitz says again there’s no evidence to support doing those things will help."
Copy of HOAX Email Making the Rounds – Best Flu Prevention Tips
“These are the best flu prevention tips I’ve come across
Below are some simple steps to prevent contamination with influenza viruses.
Dr. Vinay Goyal is an Intensivist and Thyroid specialist, having clinical experience of over 20 years.
The following message given by him makes a lot of sense and is important for all to know.
The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.
While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, are some very simple steps:
1. Frequent hand-washing
2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).
3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.
4. Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at using a Neti pot, but *blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton swabs dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.*
5. *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C. *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. *Drink much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.
I suggest you pass this on to your entire e-list; you never know who might pay attention to it – and STAY WELL because of it…”
We are not doctors, practitioners, health specialists or technicians and only offer our opinion and thoughts about all of this as a courtesy and for informational purposes only. PLEASE consult with your physician!
We believe in being very cautious when reading unproven techniques to prevent the spread of the flu and other diseases. Some unproven ideas may be interesting and seen to have some merit. But more often, they may actually hurt rather than help.
Common sense would dictate that, if the flu virus spreads from hands, mouth, nose and bodily fluids, it is best to avoid exposure. The fewer viruses assaulting the body, the better.
We use wipes everytime we enter our vehicles. We keep door handles and other places where there’s frequent traffic (especially refrigerator handles) clean. We use a grain alcohol spray bottle (half grain alcohol, half water). (We do not use isopropyl alcohol.) We breathe through our noses rather than our mouths. If we notice that someone may be ill, we avoid contact. If we are ill, we do not go out in public unless we must. Then, we cough into our clothes or elbows and we carry around wipes. We also try our best to follow all of the CDC rules above.