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Experienced Critical Care and ER Doctor Offers Tips to Prevent and Identify Swine Flu
Date:4/28/2009

LOS ANGELES, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The human swine flu outbreak is growing in the United States and internationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 10 cases of the swine flu in California alone.

Dr. Ritu Chopra has spent more than a decade studying emergency medicine, and has dealt with many atypical and typical infectious disease processes ranging from flesh eating bacteria to serious influenza outbreaks. 36,000 people die from the influenza virus each year, so being prepared and knowledgeable is important.

"No one can prevent a pandemic from happening, but we can work to minimize its impact," says Dr. Chopra. "It takes a week to 10 days to run its course and it spreads fast."

  • Practice Good Health Habits: Wash your hands with soap and water frequently during the day. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Keep Workspaces Clean: Sanitize surfaces such as desktops, phones, and computer keyboards.
  • Stop The Spread: Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing. If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.

In response to the outbreak, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4. A Phase 4 Alert is characterized by confirmed person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause "community-level" outbreaks. With his in-depth knowledge of the immune system, Dr. Chopra says the increase in the alert phase indicates that the likelihood of a pandemic has increased.

"The swine flu does not present symptoms that are much different from other strains of the flu virus," says Chopra. "There are certain
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SOURCE Dr. Ritu Chopra
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