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Written by : DoctorNDTV Team
  • Although there's no vaccine to prevent bird flu, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming ill.

    1. Stay healthy: It's impossible to know how a flu pandemic might take shape, but being in good health can help protect you. A healthy body means a strong immune system that fights off infection. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep are all things you can do to maintain good health.
    2. Avoid contact with birds and bird-related material in areas where bird flu is occurring: Whether feeding ducks at a park or walking through an open-air market, touching or being close to birds or bird droppings can lead to bird flu transmission if birds in that area are infected.
    3. Use proper respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Discard used tissues immediately. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
    4. Wash your hands frequently: Use soap and water or, when travelling or when water is scarce, an alcohol-based (60 percent to 95 percent) hand sanitiser to help prevent the spread of infection. It's especially important to wash your hands after likely exposure, and before handling food or touching your nose, mouth or eyelids.
    5. Wear gloves: Consider wearing latex gloves when caring for someone with flu, as gloves may reduce the risk of direct contact with influenza viruses (but still wash your hands).
    6. Consider wearing a mask: A respiratory mask may prevent you from inhaling airborne particles from an infected person's coughs or sneezes.
    7. Keep your home and work areas clean: Use disinfecting wipes or cleanser to clean such common surfaces as door handles, phones, computer keyboards, countertops and tools.
    8. Be careful about the food you eat: Don't eat undercooked poultry or raw eggs. Thoroughly cooking poultry and eggs and other types of meat kills bacteria and viruses within these products.
    9. Get a seasonal flu shot: Although your yearly flu shot won't protect you from the bird flu, it's still protective against the more common seasonal flu viruses. It's also a precaution against the possibility of getting simultaneous infections with both the common flu and bird flu. This is important because simultaneous infections are the main way that viruses swap genes and create new strains that potentially can cause flu pandemics.
    10. Keep your distance: In the event of a pandemic, avoid public areas, work from home, avoid unnecessary travel, stay three to six feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing, and avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing.
    Source: Mayo Clinic

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