H1N1 , Swine Flu or Influenza A is a more severe flu pandemic where the virus of H1N1 is continuing to spread worldwide. In my country - Malaysia, there were a few schools had been ordered closed last week due to the outbreak of H1N1. There were almost 350 cases of Influenza A being reported as of now and I believe the total number will increase if people still not practice good personal hygiene.
The Ministry of Health Malaysia had been distributed the pamphlets of Influenza A (H1N1) to remind people of their personal hygiene and the FAQ of H1N1.
Kindly refer to the below image and learn how to protect yourself from Influenza A (H1N1). If you cannot see the image clearly, I had written down all the information of the pamphlet as of below:
Wash Your Hands Properly
- Lather hand with soap
- Rub your palms
- Rub each finger and between fingers
- Scrub nails on palms
- Rub back of hands and between fingers
- Wash hands with sufficient clean water
- Dry hands with clean cloth or tissue
Practise Personal Hygiene
- Wash hands often with soap. When handwashing facilities are not available, use an appropriate antiseptic hand cleaner or antiseptic towelettes.
- Cover your nose and mouth with tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing
- Practise healthy life style including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food and keeping physically active.
Influenza A (H1N1) – Protect Yourself
- Wash hands – wash hands often with soap and water thoroughly, especially after coughing and sneezing.
- Cover nose and mouth – cover your nose and mouth with tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing. Throw tissue in the trash after using.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with hands. Germs may spread this way.
Influenza A (H1N1) is highly contagios acute respiratory disease infecting humans caused by a new virus, the result of a mutation created by the mixing of the pig, bird and human influenza virus genes.
2. Where have the human cases occurred?
Current information reveal that the earliest cases infected with new virus was first reported in Mexico in April 2009. Subsequently cases are been reported from several other countries across the world. For current updates of affected countries, please refer to www.moh.gov.my and www.who.int.
3. What are the signs and symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1) ?
Early signs of Influenza A (H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea.
4. How do people become infected with Influenza A (H1N1)?
The spread begins when infected people cough or sneeze, infected droplets get on their hands, drop onto surfaces, or are dispersed into the air. An uninfected person can breathe in contaminated air or touch infected hands or surfaces, and thus be exposed. This is known as the human to human transmission of Influenza A (H1N1)
5. Is there any confirmation of transmission between pigs and humans at this point?
6. What is the advice to infected persons?
*Seek medical attention and treatment from the nearest doctor.
*To prevent spread, infected persons should cover their mouth and nose appropriately when coughing and sneezing, and wash their hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water.
*If you get sick with Influenza, stay at home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Avoid toughing your eyes, nose or mouth since secretions from them contain the virus and can infect others.
*Avoid going to crowded/public places and/or using public transport especially when you are sick or have the influenza sign and symptoms.
7. How long can an infected person spread the Influenza A(H1N1) disease to others?
Person(s) with Influenza A (H1N1) virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following the onset of the illness. Children, especially the younger ones, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
8. How can you protect yourself from getting infected with the disease?
There is no vaccine currently available to protect against Influenza A (H1N1). However, there are certain actions that can help to reduce the spread of the virus:
- Avoid close contact with persons who appear unwell and have fever and cough.
- Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and mouth, with your hands to minimize infection.
- In the event of being in an affected area, avoid crowded places and stay indoors.
- Stay informed of the situation of the disease and of the appropriate measures taken to avoid being infected
- Practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food and keeping physically active.
9. Is there a human vaccine available now to protect from Influenza A (H1N1)?
No. Current seasonal human influenza vaccine does not provide protection from the current influenza A (H1N1) virus. It is unknown whether the seasonal vaccines can provide any cross protection to the ongoing influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in Mexico, United States of America and other affected parts of the world.
10. Will there be a new vaccine developed for the current infection?
Yes, WHO is currently working towards development of such a vaccine. According to WHO, it would take about 4 to 6 months to manufacture.
For those who needs to seek for assistance, please don’t hesitate to call Crisis Preparedness and Response centre/CPRC, Ministry of Health Malaysia at 03-88810200, 03-88810300 ,via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.moh.gov.my