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Influenza A H1 N1 in Mexico: What can you do to minimize the risk?

Mexico City medical stall set up in the zocalo
Citizens await checks at a Mexico City medical stall set up near the Cathedral in the Historic Center. © Anthony Wright, 2009

Influenza A H1 N1, at first erroneously called swine flu, is a concern worldwide. It is of special concern in Mexico.

What makes the virus so frightening is that it is a mutation. While scientists have long been aware of a virus' capability to mutate, mutation happens randomly. A H1N1 is new, and no one knows how potentially dangerous it is.

In a televised broadcast, a spokesperson from the World Health Organization said that, because it is a new strain, there is no one in the world with immunity.

What can you do to minimize the risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is much you can do.

Stay informed.

The CDC website is updated regularly as information becomes available. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Take everyday actions to stay healthy.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
     
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
     
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
     

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures. Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.

Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information. And be sure to check the CDC website often. The information there is updated constantly.

Published or Updated on: May 1, 2009
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