Is H1N1 (Swine Flu)
A Food Borne Illness?

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Swine Flu Humor
With the current publicity about the H1N1 virus, also known as “swine flu,” I’ve been asked by several people if H1N1 is actually caused by pigs and is thus a food borne illness.

Without going into a ton of details, the challenge is that H1N1 does come from pigs originally. The virus mutates slightly and attacks human beings – and our immune systems may not be ready for it.

However, you cannot get swine flu from eating pork. The process of cooking pork kills the swine flu germ.

So to the question, “Is H1N1 a food borne illness?” the answer is no. However, the risks are the same as that of any other virus. An infected restaurant or grocery store employee is able to pass it on to you by handling your food incorrectly.If you’re in a restaurant or grocery store and notice that the employees do not wash their hands properly, or that they sneeze and/or cough into food, you’ve just received warning signs that you shouldn’t be eating or shopping there. An employee’s illness may not be H1N1, but it could be something just as serious.

For a list of Red Flags to watch out for at grocery stores and restaurants, click here.

The Center for Disease Control is working to continue to manage this virus. News seems to be coming out every day about the risks. However, the common preventative measures listed below can help you ward off this disease:

  • Cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a clean handkerchief, then instead of sneezing into your hands, try sneezing into your crook of your elbow. This will help you keep from spreading the germs to your hands, to other people, or reintroducing them to yourself.
  • Make a habit of washing your hands with soap and water… especially before you eat or after you touch your face or eyes. Hand sanitizers are found to be effective against H1N1.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs like this seek direct access to the inside of your body, so keeping your hands away from these areas can keep you from getting sick.
  • If you do become ill, please do the right thing: seek the right medical attention, and take the time to let your body heal. Going to work with germs or viruses is not good for you or for others.

Symptoms of H1N1 include:
  • Fever above 100.4 °F (38 °C)
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches

To learn more about Food Borne Illnesses, click here.

To learn what to watch out for in restaurants and grocery stores, click on the link.

To visit’s home page, click here.

To learn how the health department keeps your restaurants and grocery stores safe, click here.

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