With the number of people coughing in the MRT, it looks like the flu virus is around again. We also just heard that H1N1 has landed in Myanmar, causing a surge in demand for flu vaccines and masks there. Let’s hope it would not reach Singapore!
First of all, what is H1N1?
2009 H1N1 (sometimes called “swine flu”) is a influenza virus causing illness in people. This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in the virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America.This virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
If you need to refresh on things we can do to prevent catching the flu, here are some of them.1. Avoid contact
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick if you can.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- If you are already sick, you would do others a favour by resting at home to recuperate. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue into the dustbin after use, or use a mask.
- Avoid tiring yourself by taking enough rest.
- Drink enough water.
- Keep warm in places with air-conditioning
- Avoid taking too much ‘heaty’ food such as deep-fried food and chocolates.
Some Chinese herbs are effective against flu virus, they include honeysuckle flower (Jin Yin Hua 金银花), forsythia (Lian Qiao连翘) and isatis root (Ban Lan Gen 板蓝根). Common ways of taking them are:
- Honeysuckle flower tea (you can buy the dried flowers in traditional Chinese medical halls).
- If you feel a little sore throat coming up, you can keep it at bay with Ban Lan Gen pills or Yin Qiao San (银翘散), an over-the-counter prescription commonly used for early stage sore throat.