Swine Flu: Facts and Fiction

Separate swine flu fact from fiction with this article

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Separate swine flu fact from fiction with our list of answers to your questions.

    Dr. Paul Pepe, the emergency services director for UT Southwestern and Parkland Hospital, said some of what North Texans are seeing and hearing is a lot of hype.

    Pepe answered many of the common questions for NBCDFW's Meredith Land.
     
    Will a pill or a shot keep people from contracting the disease?
    "In general, we aren't recommending that people do that, just do the usual precautions. On the other hand, if you have special needs, like a compromising immune system or elderly with some chronic disease, then they want to get advice from their doctor about doing that."

    Do masks work?
    "The masks can be helpful because if it's anything, whether it's your hand or tissues that could keep a cough from spreading, that is useful. There are better masks, but something is better than nothing."

    Is talk about the swine flu a bunch of hype here in the U.S.?

    "I think the concern is reasonable, seeing that there are deaths in Mexico. But on the other hand, our experience in the U.S. so far is that it's been relatively mild and not something of great concern yet, but we'll have out eyes open in case things do change." [NOTE: We spoke to Pepe before the first confirmed US death]

    We've noticed several "swine flu kits" now on sale on several Web sites. Are they useful?
    "Why weren't we doing that during flu season? Most flu seasons kill in the tens of thousands a year in the us alone." Pepe told us not to waste our money.

    Get the Swine Flu Lowdown

    [DFW] Get the Swine Flu Lowdown
    Separate fact from fiction about the swine flu.

    Pepe urges folks to not panic and to not get taken:
    "I think [concern is] reasonable considering this is a new virus we haven't seen, and there could be changes and mutations later on, but for now it looks like it's pretty mild, at least in this country."

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the symptoms of swine flu?
    Swine flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

    Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
    No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

    How is the infection spread?
    People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

    For more information on swine flu, visit the CDC's page on the disease.

    Please send additional questions to newstips@nbcdfw.com.