Tuesday, September 1, 2009

H1N1 Flu

Life Insurance Assocaiation Malaysia (LIAM) had confirmed that all the 16 members will pay claims arising from the H1N1 flu. What is H1N1 (swine flu)?
Virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009.This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

Why is this new H1N1 virus sometimes called ''swine flu''?
This virus was originally referred to as ''swine flu'' because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses taht normally circulates in North American pigs.It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes.Scientists call this a ''quadruple reassortant'' virus.

What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?
The symptoms of this new H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever,cough,sore throat,runny or stuffy nose,body aches,headache,chills and fatigue.A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.Also like seasonal flu,severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result illness associated with this virus.

How does this new H1N1 virus spread?
Spread of this H1N1 virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads.Flu viruses are spread mainly from person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza.Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What can i do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against this new H1N1 virus.There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hand often with soap and water,especially after you cough or sneeze.Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eye,nose or mouth.Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home if you are sick for 7 day after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24hours,whichever is longer.This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures,avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so;a supply of over-the-counter medicines,alcohol-based hand rubs,tissue and other related items might be useful and help avoid the need to make trips out public while you are sick and contagious.
 Are there medicines to treat infection with this new virus?
Yes.CDC recommend the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and /or prevention of infection with the new H1N1 flu virus.Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills,liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.If you get sick,antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.They may also prevent serious flu complications.During the current outbreak,the priority use for influenza antiviral drugs during is to treat severe influenza illness.