The global body says 11 countries have now reported confirmed cases. Mexico has reported 156 cases and 9 deaths. The United States has 109 cases and 1 death.Canada has 34 cases, Spain 13 and Britain 8. New Zealand and Germany have 3 confirmed cases each, Israel has two, and Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland have a case each, according to the latest WHO figures Friday.
Practice general preventive measures for influenza, good hygiene is the key. You can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading influenza by:
- Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and have fever and cough.
- Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.
- Using a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Disposing of used tissues promptly and carefully.
- Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing your hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face, or to other people.
- Cleaning hard surfaces (eg kitchen worktops, door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product.
- Separate the ill person from others, at least 1 meter in distance from others.
- Cover your mouth and nose when caring for the ill person. Either commercial or homemade materials are fine, as long as they are disposed of or cleaned properly after use.
- Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after each contact with the ill person.
- Improve the air flow where the ill person stays. Use doors and windows to take advantage of breezes.
- Keep the environment clean with readily available household cleaning agents.
- Stay at home and rest.
- Take medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the symptoms (following the instructions with the medicines). Children under 16 must not be given aspirin or ready-made flu remedies containing aspirin.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Phone your GP or NHS Direct if you have recently travelled to Mexico or another affected area or if you develop complications such as shortness of breath.
- Before you call, check your symptoms with this symptom checker.
If you are living in a country where there are infections follow additional advice from your national and local health authorities.
Face mask anyone?
The widespread wearing of masks during a pandemic is unlikely to be effective at preventing people from becoming infected with the virus. However, they may have some limited ability to stop those already infected with the virus from spreading it.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that the widespread issue of face masks to healthy members of the public can stop this disease spreading. Moreover, they give can false reassurance, and can encourage people to ignore basic and straightforward hand hygiene measures that are known to be effective.
However, specialist and other types of face masks are useful for frontline NHS staff who are caring for infected patients. The masks must be of the appropriate type, be worn correctly, changed frequently; removed properly; disposed of safely and used in combination with good hygiene measures.
Although there is a supply of face masks for NHS staff, more are needed. In the past 24 hours, contracts have been completed for more than 60 million masks that will start becoming available from this week. These will be both surgical and respiratory masks, which will give staff a broad range of protection when they come into contact with infected patients.