April 27, 2009

CDC: Practice good respiratory etiquette

A federal health official said good respiratory etiquette is an effective way to prevent the spread of swine flu.

Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said preventing swine flu is the same as preventing the regular seasonal flu.

Covering your cough is something you should always do, Besser said at a news conference Monday. "It's an appropriate way to reduce the likelihood of transmission of an infectious disease.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way, the health official advised in a statement.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Swine flu is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

The CDC recommends anyone with swine flu symptoms -- fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea -- stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.

If you're in an infected area or if you have the flu it is probably best not to give a kiss, but we are not recommending an end to affection, Besser said. It's a period of time when we need a little more affection, but doing it in a way that isn't going to transmit a respiratory disease would be a CDC approach.