Swine Flu: Facts, Myths and Whether to Worry

Researchers are still investigating how easily the swine flu virus spreads, but experts said that transmission likely occurs the same way people pass on the usual flu: coughing or sneezing from sick people, shaking hands or otherwise touching people who are infected with the virus, touching surfaces and objects that sick people have touched.

Can I get the swine flu from eating pork?

No. There are no signs that people can get the swine flu from eating pork.

What are the symptoms of swine flu? How do I know if I have it?

The World Health Organization is working to develop a profile of the typical case of swine flu. but so far, the symptoms appear to be essentially the same as those for the usual winter flu. Oz said that these symptoms may include:

A fever of 100.5 degrees or more;

Muscle aches;


Sore throat;

Diarrhea or vomiting ro both.

The only way to definitively diagnose swine flu is to have laboratory testing done to determine the exact subtype of the virus.

Can the swine flu be treated? What if I develop symptoms?

Yes. Swine flu can be treated with antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza, but treatment must be started within the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. If you have symptoms of flu, talk to your health care provider right away.

How to Protect Yourself From Swine Flu

The CDC recommends the following steps to protect yourself from any kind of flu:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Avoid Sick People

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Also, the best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid close contact with sick people:

Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by infected people.
If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

"[Prevention is] no different than any other pandemic flu, and those are kind of simple things -- wash your hands a lot, don't shake hands or hug or kiss people if you're sick, don't go to work, self-quarantine yourself," said Peter Katona, an associate professor at the University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center.

More Information About Swine Flu on the Web

The situation with swine flu is rapidly evolving, but here are some answers to questions on the top issues. Get the latest from the U.S. Centers on Disease Control and Prevention here: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

Here are some other Web sites for more information on swine flu:

CDC: How to Protect Yourself From the Flu

CDC's Flu Toolkit

Tips from the American Academy of Family Physicians for dealing with the flu through familydoctor.org

AAFP tips on cold and flu in children

Sources: CDC, World Health Organization and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

ABC News' Huma Khan contributed to this report.

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