With the increasing number of deaths in China from the latest H7N9 avian (bird) flu, people around the world are becoming tense once again when it comes to travel or crowded areas. Although it hasn’t made its way to North America yet, people are being advised to follow certain flu prevention health tips to minimize the risk of contracting this virus, and to stop this deadly flu from spinning into an all-out global pandemic.
Bird flu commonly refers to a type of flu that affects wild and domesticated birds and although it is easily transmitted among birds, it is uncommon for it to spread to humans. However, bird flu has been seen in humans. This usually happens after they have come into contact with infected poultry. In 2011, a highly contagious strain of the bird flu, H1N1, was seen and recently a new strain of the bird flu, H7N9 has been found in China. Unfortunately, there have been a steady number of human cases involving this new strain, some of which have resulted in death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the new H7N9 strain of the flu has characteristics that make it well-adapted to affect the human population. Currently, there is no vaccination against the H7N9 strain, so flu prevention steps are essential to stopping the spread of the virus.
While human-to-human spread of the H7N9 strain of bird flu is not completely known, it is best to take regular flu prevention steps just in case human-to-human transmission is possible. These flu prevention health tips include:
If you have been exposed to the flu virus, you can get a prescription for anti-viral medication from your doctor which may help to prevent you from getting sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that travellers refrain from visiting countries where bird flu has been seen in poultry, other birds, or humans. However, if you must travel to these areas, the CDC recommends that you take precautions to minimize your risk of getting sick. These health tips include:
While human cases of bird flu are rare, they are being seen in China with the H7N9 strain of the virus. For the time being, it is best to avoid travel to this area unless it is absolutely necessary.