Swine Flu update for people with heart disease

In general, influenza of all types can pose greater dangers for people with heart failure, or with any cardiovascular disease. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

The American Heart Association recommends each year that all heart disease patients get flu shots, and they should do so by injection ? not the live, attenuated vaccine given as a nasal spray. The live vaccine is not approved for use by cardiovascular disease patients.

There is no vaccine for swine influenza at present, so even if you got a flu shot, you could still contract swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advice at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/ about how to minimize your chances of catching swine flu, and how to avoid passing it on if you do catch it.

There is treatment for the swine flu, which you can get from your doctor. Antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

Helpful tips for keeping yourself and others healthy:

– Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

– If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

? Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

? 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 best source of information on the swine flu is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their website http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/ is being updated daily.

Source: American Heart Association, USA

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