The University of Toledo Department of Infectious Diseases is asking the UT community to take simple, everyday steps to prevent contracting and spreading swine flu.
The illness, a respiratory disease commonly found in pigs and caused by type A influenza, has recently been spreading between humans in Mexico and the United States. No cases of swine flu have been documented or reported at UT or the surrounding area.
Nevertheless, Dr. Julie Westerink, chief of infectious diseases, said adopting common-sense hygiene practices can help decrease the threat of swine flu.
“Washing your hands often is probably the most effective preventative measure,” Westerink said. “Also, covering your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze will help stop the spread of germs.”
Westerink added that not touching your eyes, nose and mouth and avoiding contact with individuals infected with the illness also will help.
She recommended that all nursing staff and physicians get fit tested at the present time with a N-95 particulate respirator if not fit tested in the last year. Contact 419.383.5069 for fit-testing locations and times.
Swine flu is characterized by much of the same symptoms as the form of influenza often found in humans. Fever, coughing, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue are the most common symptoms. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting, but these are associated with respiratory symptoms if they are caused by swine flu.
Additional information about the disease can be found through the following links:
UT Safety and Health: http://www.utoledo.edu/depts/safety/Hospital_Emergency_Planning.html
Lucas County Health Department: http://co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=1603
Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm