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Swine flu originates in pigs, but when humans get it, there’s a much greater likelihood they acquired it from another person. Called the H1N1 virus, what we know as “swine” flu is just one of many strains that regularly infect swine populations. H1N1 started a pandemic in 2009, and that pandemic was echoed in 2014. Today, swine flu is one of the regular influenza strains that make their rounds during flu season, and it is transmitted the same way.
If your child acquired influenza at a state fair, they probably didn’t get it rolling around with the pigs, or eating pork. Though pork improperly prepared can spread H1N1, this usually is not the case. Usually the virus has been eradicated from the meat by the time you eat it, and cooking it properly only serves to ensure the meat is antigen free. The real culprit spreading this virus at state fairs is a great concentration of diverse people in a single location.
Carriers Aren’t Always Aware
When flu hits, it is usually several hours before symptoms manifest. This means you can be infected, contagious, and unconscious to either fact. If you are sneezed on in the morning, then go to the fair, you’ll likely spread the flu even as you yourself are becoming aware of the infection. With state fairs, a ubiquity of vendors and diverse groups come together, and since fairs are usually only a one or several day affair, taking a “sick day” isn’t an option. Between the ubiquity of diverse people and infected vendors, there are ample opportunities to come into contact with this virus at the fair.
Preventing Swine Flu
To keep your kids from catching swine flu at the fair, there are several things you can do.
- Encourage Proper Hygiene
- Facilitate A Healthy Diet Rich In Vitamins and Non-Processed Foods
- Encourage Regular Exercise
The late George Carlin does a comedy bit (which is full of vulgarity, so be advised) where he talks about being essentially impervious to sickness because as a child he swam in the sewage-filled Hudson river. While this isn’t a recommendable way to contract immunity, it isn’t without some scientific background. Your body becomes able to deal with sickness by encountering it, fighting it off, and learning from the experience. This is basically where the theory of inoculation/vaccination comes from. An inert or weakened antigen is injected into the body. The immune system can then send its defenses against that antigen, learn its “secrets”, and repel it from the body. When the same antigen is encountered “in the real world”, as it were, the body doesn’t have as difficult a time defending against it. So to a degree, exposing yourself to illnesses can help strengthen the immune system. It can also kill you, if you happen to have too weak an immune system at the wrong time, so it’s entirely unadvisable from a modern medical standpoint. What works better is ensuring that you and your children get the right vitamins and minerals in their regular diet, wash hands and faces whenever they touch things in public, and keep their bodies fit with exercise.
Some common health-encouraging compounds include Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. Processed foods can have unhealthy, non-natural chemical substances which, while not compromising the immune system, do compromise your body’s excretory systems and can “divert energy”, as it were, from constructive immune protection.
One other thing you can do is to vaccinate; you’ve just got to be sure you do this when those getting vaccinated are in good health, as inoculation facilitates an immune system response