How To Lower Your Risk Of
By Sarah K. Jenkins
Influenza is in no way a new ailment to plague the people of the
world. However, a new deadly strand of the virus has everyone running for cover.
How do you avoid catching flu, including the dangerous bird flu that threatens
First, it should be explained that bird flu, also known as avian influenza,
is a virus much like the regular flu we are accustomed to. It is transmitted in
much the same way, through droplets of saliva and mucus. However, bird flu is
currently only transmitted from infected birds to humans and can not be passed
from human to human like the regular flu. The main concern arises with bird flu
as it is expected to mutate and at some point be transmitted by humans as well.
Until this takes place, bird flu is only passed from infected birds to humans by
way of direct contact with the animal or its feces.
The current outbreak of bird flu is taking place in Asia; therefore, there
is little concern of catching the virus unless you are in that region and
handling fowl. However, once the virus mutates it will be transmitted much like
the standard flu and may be avoided in much the same way.
The obvious first step in lowering your risk of catching the virus is being
administered a vaccine. There is currently not a vaccine for the dangerous
strand of influenza, but one is being developed. With any luck one will be
produced prior to any widespread contamination of the virus.
Another option is one utilized in most regular flu cases - taking antiviral
medication, such as Tamiflu. These are expected to be effective on the dangerous
strand of influenza as well as the regular flu virus. However, for this
treatment to be useful, it must be administered early in the virus, typically
within two days of showing symptoms. This and other drugs do not cure the virus,
but instead lessen the effects of the symptoms. They may, however, prevent the
virus from becoming severe.
The most effective way to avoid catching the flu, the regular flu as well as
the bird flu, is prevention. Proper hygiene reduces the risk of the spread of
influenza. Simple things, like washing your hands and avoiding close contact
with sick people, may be your best technique in lowering your risk of becoming
infected. Utilizing hand sanitizer is also a useful option.
Sarah is an acclaimed writer on medical matters, and has
written extensively on the subjects of Attention Deficit Disorder, Bird Flu and
Crohn’s Disease. For more of her articles, go to