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Some Swine Flu Questions:

Is there a vaccine to prevent Swine Flu? A: No

Is it still safe to eat pork? A:Yes, influenza virus does not spread through food

Does washing hands frequently help? A:Yes
Flu viruses can live on surfaces for many hours, like a doorknob just touched by someone who sneezed into their hand.

Q: Is swine flu treatable?

A: Yes, with the flu drugs Tamiflu or Relenza, but not with two older flu medications.


Swine Flu Canada

-April 2010 - have not heard much in the News about Swine Flu lately. That is a good thing!

-November 2009 - Seems like the swine flu is back and long lines are causing temporary shortages at clinics in Oakville and the GTA. The threat may be a bit overblown but better safe than sorry is the attitude of those in line to get their H1N1 flu shot.

-current H1N1 swine flu updates for Canada here

-May 11, 2009. The latest count shows 331 cases of swine flu across Canada. 34 new cases appeared in Ontario for a current total of 110 swine flu cases in Ontario. So far there have been 80 swine flu cases in British Columbia, 57 in Nova Scotia, 52 in Alberta and 17 in Saskatchewan as well as a few more in the other provinces.

-May 3, 2009 over 80 cases with continued monitoring of the situation. Most of the cases are relatively mild.

-May 1, 2009

The count now stands at 51 official Swine Flu cases in Canada. This strain of flu known as H1N1 or the "Swine Flu" is slowly making the rounds with 12 confirmed cases now in Ontario which included 4 more recent mild cases in Toronto. The status for our region remains watchful but also hopeful that the illness will not spread as it is the tail end of the flu season.

-April 26, 2009

Oakville Residents concerned about Swine Flu Epidemic

Canadian health officials are scrambling to collect facts and contain the spread of swine flu by human contact after confirming several recent cases of the swine flu in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. The disease can crop up anywhere as tourists can contract the swine flu and carry it back to any region in a matter of days. So far the Swine Flu cases in Canada have been relatively mild and most have connections to the Mexican Swine Flu breakout.

Swine Flu can especially affect the elderly, small children and people with chronic conditions. At this stage it is recommended to be vigilant and take basic preventative measures such as washing hands frequently, especially before handling food. Covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding contact with others if they feel ill. Staying home from work or school when symptoms of illness arise is recommended in order to contain the spread of any illness.

So far up to 90 people have died of the swine flu in Mexico recently and about 1300 people have been diagnosed with the illness since mid-April, 2009. Concerned individuals are proactively buying N95 masks for their families, especially if still deciding to continue with travel plans to Mexico, the U.S. or on cruise lines travelling in those regions.

This though at this stage should not cause panic as in general, it is a fairly mild disease but we should not be complacent or spread any illness if possible. Although suggestions have not been made to avoid travel to Mexico, Foreign Affairs Canada has posted a Travel Health Notice for travellers to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza, wash hands often with soap under warm running water to reduce chance of getting the flu. Alcohol based hand gel can also be used along with portable Towlette hand sanitizers. If symptoms are developed while returning home from Mexico, seek medical help immediately and inform the doctor about the recent trip there.
- update April 27,2009 European countries issue a Travel Alert for citizens of Europe to avoid unnecessary Travel to Mexico or the U.S.

If you become ill while abroad, most major tourist hotels either have on-call or in-house doctors, or they can arrange appointments with local doctors. If you require urgent care, go to the nearest hospital.

In general if a flu is contracted, drink plenty of fluids including water, soup and juices and get plenty of rest. Aches and fever can be treated with acetaminophen. Antivirus medication may reduce symptoms if taken within the first 48 hours after the onset of illness. After that, time and rest will usually get rid of the flu within 7-10 days.

-update April 20 afternoon: Confirming 40 cases of swine flu in the U.S., the Obama administration said today it is responding aggressively as if the outbreak would spread into a full pandemic.

-update April 28: Canada issues advisory against travel to Mexico

more Swine Flu Canada updates (13 total cases in Canada now)

N95 Mask - Help prevent Swine Flu?

Unfortunately strains of Flu such as the Swine Flu can be easily transmitted through droplets in coughs and sneezes and even wearing certain masks cannot protect us from the tiny particles. There has recently been a run on so called N95 particulate masks. These may be a good idea to have around during calm times to avoid not getting them if panic ever breaks out.

Normally N95 Masks are routinely recommended for use in hospitals and for health aid workers that come into contact with possibly infected individuals to try to avoid getting an infection themselves. These N95 masks are also available to the general public.

Q: In Mexico, officials are already handing out face masks. Do I need one?

A: It's safer to avoid close contact with someone who's sick and avoid crowds where swine flu is known to be spreading in the first place. But if you can't do that, CDC guidelines say it's OK to get a mask as additional protection— just don't let it substitute for the other good precautions.

More developments late Monday April 20, 2009 in the swine flu pandemic — so far 149 deaths and more signs that the virus can jump repeatedly from human to human are prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise its pandemic alert level.

The virus has already spread to several countries including the U.S., Canada and some countries in Europe as well as half of Mexico. The Mexican government took steps to reduce crowds of people including the cancelling of school nationwide on Monday. A critical juncture is being reached where it will soon be apparent how bad the crisis can become.