For any flu-like illness, call the doctor at the first signs to see if an
medication should be taken. It may shorten the course of the illness or
lessen the symptoms.
medications are most effective if taken within the first 48 hours of
illness. Scientists are hopeful that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) might be effective
against bird flu complications, but not enough information is currently
available to confirm this.
For travelers to one of the affected countries where bird flu has been observed,
see a doctor immediately if a respiratory illness with fever develops.
Get a flu shot: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising
that eligible people get the seasonal flu vaccination each year. This shot does
not protect against bird flu, but it does add a measure of protection. Someone
with seasonal flu who becomes infected with bird flu could cause the virus to
mutate into a strain that humans have no immunity against. Practice safe food
handling practices: As with all meat including poultry, when handling or
cooking, wash hands with soap and water and disinfect all surfaces such as
cutting boards and countertops that contact any raw meats. Viruses can remain
active in raw meat. Cooking kills the bird flu virus in poultry.
Get informed about foreign travel: The CDC advises travelers to countries with
known outbreaks of bird flu to avoid visiting poultry farms or have contact with
live animals in food markets. Avoid ice cream or other foods that may have been
produced with raw eggs. Do not contact any surfaces that appear to be
contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Wash hands with soap and
water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Talk with your doctor about bringing
along an antiviral
medication should you feel ill with flu. For current travel information and
health advisories from the CDC, see their Travelers' Health page
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