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Is it safe to travel without using a mask during Swine flu epidemic?

Q: I am a 27 years old woman having epilepsy since childhood. I have to travel by train for a day. Swine flu masks are not available in my city. What should I do now? How badly can swine flu affect an epileptic person? I would also like to know how long I should stay away from my pregnant sister if I do get the virus? Please advise.

A:If, other than the epilepsy, you are in good health then there is no reason to fear swine flu. Just take the usual common sense precautions of avoiding congested closed spaces and keeping an arms length away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing if you can. I would not worry about getting and using a mask. It is important that you wash your hands several times a day and avoid touching your face or eyes etc without having washed your hands. For most people, much more than 90%, Swine flu is just like common flu, an insignificant infection that cures itself.

As to the other part of your question, how would you know if you are infected with Swine flu? Just take common sense precautions again. Avoid your pregnant sister if you have a cold and cough. Swine flu is infectious to other generally one day before the symptoms start and a day after the person has recovered.

Go to Chennai if you have a good reason, do not worry about Swine Flu. Don't visit a sick person.

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