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Understanding the H5N1 flu virus
At this time there is a new strain of flu virus called H5N1, which is known as bird flu. The flu originates from infected birds in Asia. Health officials predict bird flu will spread within Europe and the US in the coming months. It is a serious threat because of the newness of the virus, which has not given the time needed for humans to build immunity. The virus so far has been contracted by ingesting infected poultry.
Half of the people who have contracted the flu from infected poultry have died. Contraction of the virus through human contact has not been noted, but could become a possibility in the future. Human to human contraction of the virus is less harmful because the body builds immunity.
It is important to take precautions to avoid the flu virus. Flu is the most dangerous to children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Health officials are working hard to find a cure for bird flu. Vaccines are currently being developed to combat this flu virus, and will be made available to the public very soon. In the meantime, you can protect your family by taking some simple health precautions:
1. Ask your doctor for a flu shot or vaccine when it becomes available to help build immunity against flu.
2. Always wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs.
3. Cook poultry and meat well. The heating process eliminates bacteria and viruses such as H5N1.
4. Take care of your body with healthy food and enough sleep to build immunity against illness.
5. If you feel ill or suspect you have contracted the flu, see your doctor as soon as possible. An antiviral drug such as Tamiflu, can be prescribed at the onset of flu symptoms to lessen the severity of a flu virus.
6. Stay educated about the flu virus. The bird flu is a popular topic right now in the news. There is also much information about this virus online. It is important to learn and understand how to protect your health from flu and illness. Follow the advice of health officials, and be alert to when the flu vaccine is available in your area. These simple steps can help to keep your family healthy.
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