Bird Flu: What It Is And How You Can Protect Yourself

By: pfmmg2
Everywhere you turn you see it on the news. Bird flu is on the rise and people are scared. Finding out more about it will help you learn how to protect you and your family.

H5N1: What is it?

Also known as Avian Flu, the H5N1 virus is commonly seen among wild birds and is as typical as the human cold and is transmitted between birds. Domesticated birds can also be at risk to catch Avian Influenza from wild birds.

There is an incubation period of 1-5 days between the time of exposure and the development of symptoms and can be fatal within 2 days. The concern and fear regarding this potential pandemic is that once a virus begins to mutate, it behaves differently and can be transmitted between species. This is the case with HIV. HIV began in monkeys and is commonly seen as a virus between monkeys. After the virus mutated, it spread to humans and the effects have been tragic. The virus is already showing signs of mutation as cases involving cats and pigs have been recently brought to light. The other fear and threat comes from the issue of Human-to-Human contact. If the Bird Flu mutates into a strand that is easily communicable between humans, we could see a pandemic of Avian Flu. Right now, the best way to prevent a pandemic is through careful prevention and monitoring the H5N1 virus closely.

Bird Flu: Symptoms

The symptoms are very similar to the Human Flu strains that we are familiar with. Fever, sore throats, coughs, muscle aches and pains, and general malaise are all signs of the virus. Other symptoms include Pneumonia and trouble breathing. If symptoms are identified early enough, it can be treated successfully. However, there is the threat of death if its left on its own.

Protecting Yourself from Avian Influenza: Goggles and Gloves

Currently, Bird Flu is being seen in Asia and Europe. Since the key to preventing the spread or mutation of the virus is protection, it is strongly suggested that those who are handling anything that has been potentially contaminated with the virus, wear goggles, gloves and masks specifically designed to protect against the virus. You should also make sure that you receive an annual flu shot to protect yourself from having common Influenza at the same time, should you catch Bird Flu. The two viruses together could mutate causing the strand that leads to a pandemic. Always practice good hygiene, hand washing, and stay away from areas that may be contaminated with AvianFlu.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/avianflu/htm/_no_100_no_0.htm

With this information, you can protect your family against a potential outbreak of the Avian Flu virus.
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