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 Take Care of Your Health

Swine Flu


Five Ways To Avoid Swine Flu While Traveling

>>>>>> By Nikhil Khanna

Before you start on that dream holiday, know more about the current H1N1 status at your destination and vaccines you might need


1. Research

Before you take off, learn about current status of H1N1 at your destination and any other vaccines you might need. In addition, find out what resources might be available in the event of an emergency and who you could call. If you are going to a less developed country, talk to your doctor about bringing anti-viral drugs like Tamiflu. The World Health Organization, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department are valuable sources of information.

2. Prepare For Inconveniences

Many international airports are monitoring visitors, so you may be quarantined if they suspect that you have H1N1 or have been exposed to the illness. According to the U.S. State Department, China quarantined thousands of U.S. travelers between May and August, but since September, quarantines have been less frequent. Because quarantines can last several days, it is crucial that travelers with chronic conditions bring extra medication.

3. Face Mask

According to the experts we talked to, the common surgical mask provides little protection against H1N1 because the virus can still pass through the mask's pores. A N95 respirator is widely considered more effective, because it is designed to filter out minute particles. The CDC's Web site does warn that it is more difficult to breathe through a respirator over a long duration and it is not intended for children. Both are available for purchase online.

4. Practice Good Hygiene

Regardless of whether you get the vaccination or not, good hygiene is a basic and critical rule in the war against H1N1. The maxims are tried and true: wash your hands frequently with soap and water; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers; avoid contact with mucus membranes (eyes, nose, mouth); cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Dr. Myles Druckman, a vice president for International SOS, says you should try to avoid standing near people who are ill, maintaining a distance of at least three to six-feet.

5. Don't fly

If you suspect you are coming down with the flu, and especially if you register a fever, don't travel. Not only do you face the risk of quarantine, but you're putting your fellow passengers and co-workers in jeopardy. Your firm and your family will understand. It will be easier to recover from home where you know your doctors and don't have to deal with the stress of travel. If you are worried about the cost of cancellation, purchase travel insurance beforehand, just make sure you read the fine print and pick a provider that does not make exclusions for pandemics or epidemics.


Mexico receives first of swine flu vaccine doses

Mexico City, Nov 24 (EFE) Mexico has received the first batch of 865,000 doses of vaccine against the swine flu virus, a minister has said.
Mexico, where the swine flu outbreak began, to date has registered 573 deaths and 64,322 infections.

'This vaccine is going to be monitored by (state-owned) Laboratorios de Biologicos y Reactivos de Mexico,' Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova told EFE Monday.

He said that the vaccine is the same one that is being administered in the US, Canada, Spain, France and Britain.

Before being distributed, the vaccine will be reviewed this week by federal inspectors, he said.

Cordova said that authorities already have 'a distribution programme to the different institutions with the two priority groups that are going to be vaccinated in mind, who are health care personnel and pregnant women'.
On Dec 7, 'it is very probable' that another 650,000 doses of the vaccine will arrive in Mexico, and around Dec 20 another batch will arrive that will bring the total delivered to Mexico to seven million doses, the minister added.
In mid-January, 18 million more doses will be received, and it is hoped to be able to administer it to 'the entire general population', after the higher-risk groups are attended to.

Mexico expects by February 2010 to have received a total of 30 million doses of the flu vaccine from the Sanofi Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline labs.
Authorities are forecasting a resurgence of the epidemic between mid-December and the end of January.


India to develop swine flu vaccine by 2010: Azad

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) India would be able to indigenously develop swine flu vaccine by June next year, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told parliament Tuesday.

'Three companies are working towards developing indigenous vaccine for the swine flu and it is expected that clinical trials would start in January 2010. If all goes well, indigenous vaccine would be available by June 2010,' Azad said.
In India, three pharmaceutical companies - Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Panacea Biotech - are working on developing the vaccine.
Azad said that to cover the interim period, the government is importing pandemic vaccine to vaccinate the high risk group.

'We have procured 40 million capsules and 400,000 bottles of oseltamivir, the drug used to treat swine flu. Restricted sale of the drug is allowed through retail outlets,' said Azad.