Human cases of Swine Influenza, otherwise known as swine flu, may be emerging in the United States. On April 29, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the nation’s first fatality from this outbreak. The CDC also reported a number of laboratory confirmed cases of the swine flu in 10 states throughout the U.S.
According to the CDC, the swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza viruses, which cause regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Usually, swine flu viruses infect humans with direct exposure to pigs. But more recently, it has been reported to spread from person-to-person. The anxiety this flu is causing is so strong all over the world that the Egyptian government has ordered the slaughter of the country's entire hog population, according to NPR.
What can you do? Washing your hands frequently is one of the most important steps we can take to prevent infection and spreading germs. Here are some guidelines for washing your hands the right way from the CDC.
• Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if available.
• Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
• Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend.
• Rinse hands well under running water.
• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
• Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
• Apply product to the palm of one hand.
• Rub hands together.
• Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
Courtesy Flickr/Andreas Levers
Here are some antiviral soaps that you can use to stay healthy and swine flu-free. Herbs such as elderberry, astragalus, ginger, licorice, zinc, lavender and ginseng all appear to have antiviral activity.
• Peppermint Frog Bar Soap by Brigit True Organics ($10) is 88 percent organic, has pure essential oils of peppermint, and is both antiviral and antiseptic.
• Elderberry Flowers with Garden Iris and French Clay by Botanical Soap Shop ($7.99) is certified organic, soothing and calming and acts as an antiviral and antibacterial agent.
• Ginger Pomelo Hand Soap Liquid by Caldrea ($10.50) has a blend of essential oils including ginger, pomelo and aloe vera.
And last but certainly not least, you can enter for a chance to win Natural Hand Refresher by Green Tea Goods on our website in a few weeks. It’s a wonderful hand sanitizer that naturally cleans your skin without that alcohol smell. The product uses a blend of Chinese herbs that have anti-bacterial functions. These herbs include mugwort leaf, licorice root and coptis chinensis.