Living in Argentina, and just coming out of a long and cold winter, I have some tips to share regarding swine flu (H1N1).
You will recall that it first appeared in Mexico and spread very quickly around the world last April.
The Argentine government cut all ties with Mexico for about a week but the virus entered the country anyway. People who had been in Mexico or the U.S., tourists entering via Chile brought it with them.
The media spread a paranoia that had nearly everyone scrambling to drugstores and supermarkets to buy all the alcohol-gel, face masks and vitamin C that they could. Tamiflu antiviral was unavailable.
Pepole were weary of travelling in public transport (subway, buses, trains), at the supermarkets customers were required to space out 1 metre (3 ft.) at the check out counters.
School was suspended and winter holidays came sooner. All schools and universities were shut down for one month (in mid winter - July).
The TV news reported a growing death toll and this fueled the fear.
But really, it was not bad at all. Just plain old paranoia.
The facts are that roughly 500 people died out of a population of 40 million. Most deaths were in people who had other medical conditions. However several healthy young adults and children died. The usual flu (common flue) toll is over 3,000 dead yearly so this pandemia was not too terrible.
I know only 2 people who caught it (out of all my friends, family, office colleagues, etc.). Both stayed home, rested, slept and ate well. They recovered in a few days.
Prop up your defenses (eat well, sleep well, supplement your diet with fresh fruit and veggies, take a multivitamin supplement).
Relax, stress lowers your defenses.
Wash your hands frequently with plain old soap and water.
No need for masks
Use alcohol gel for a quick cleansing after being in contact with doors, phones, railings, public transport.
If you get any symptoms, call your doctor and stay at home. Keep away from everyone until you know what you have -it may be a common cold or even common flu.
Take your shots every year (yes, for common flu) they protect you.
When the H1N1 vaccine becomes available, get a shot.
Quit smoking, excercise regularly. Keep fit. It will prop your immune system.
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