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Bird flu, also termed as H5N1 or avian influenza is a type of zoonotic influenza virus that gets transmitted to humans usually through infected live or dead poultry which includes chicken, turkey or wild ducks.
Symptoms of bird flu include fever, cough, headache followed by severe forms like pneumonia, sepsis and upper respiratory diseases. Bird flu outbreak can result in large poultry infections and impact livelihood and economy of many countries. There are many subtypes of avian influenza viruses, among which A(H5N1), A(H7N9) and A(H9N2) have resulted in maximum deaths worldwide.
Bird flu is a serious contagious disease that can spread through human interaction. There are several ways in which it can be prevented. Take a look at some of the ways to keep bird flu viruses at bay.
1. Avoid Poultry Visit
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should avoid visiting poultry farms or any bird market where they are raised or kept. It is because these areas are contaminated with the excretions or droppings of the poultry birds which are potentially harmful if gets inside humans through eyes, nose or mouth. Also, during the visit, you may carry the pathogens along with you to a larger crowd.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Nutrients play a vital role in the proper functioning of the immune system. Essential nutrients like amino acid, folic acid, beta carotene, selenium, zinc and vitamin A, C, B2 and B12 help restore the immune function and provide resistance to infection. Therefore, consuming a well-balanced diet is very important to prevent all diseases and infections.
3. Avoid Eating Raw Poultry Products
Raw meat products are a house of many harmful viruses, bacteria, parasites and foreign materials. When we cook meat products properly, all the microorganisms in them get destroyed due to high heat, thus making the food safer for consumption. This prevents all the pathogens from entering our body and causing us harm or illnesses.
4. Avoid Eating Raw Eggs
Eggs of the poultry birds can also cause us infections if not handled with care,because sometimes, the poop of the birds get stuck to the eggs and carried all along spreading the infection on its way. The best way to clean eggs is by running lukewarm water over it and rubbing them with a soft clean dish towel. Also, avoid eating raw eggs as they may contain pathogenic bacteria which can cause food poisoning.
5. Wash Hands After Touching Raw Meat
As aforementioned, raw meat contains a plethora of bacteria, viruses and pathogens. Touching raw meat products and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes may allow these microorganisms to enter the body and cause us diseases. Therefore, it is a good hygiene practice to use sanitizer or wash hands with soap and water after touching raw meat.
6. Keep A Check On Your Health
People who are involved in handling poultry carcasses or dealing with raw poultry products are advised to maintain strict hand and personal hygiene. However, if you feel any kind of flu symptoms like cough, high fever or headache, it is advised to visit a medical expert before the symptoms become critical.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Our immune system plays a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being of people. Alcohol and cigarettes suppress our immune system and make it weaker. They decrease the immune response towards the pathogens entering our body resulting in infections and many diseases.
8. Avoid Close Contact With Ill People
Bird flu or avian influenza has become a pandemic in the year 1918 due to its contagious nature. When an ill individual coughs or sneezes, the harmful droplets that come out from their body spread to other individuals who are in close contact with them. Therefore, the best way to avoid it is by avoiding close contact with ill people or any social gathering during the infection season.
9. Annual Flu Vaccines
According to a study, flu vaccinations are recommended every year to avoid the risk of getting infected by influenza or flu viruses. Vaccination decreases the risk of infection to more than half and prepares our body to fight off influenza during its season. It is recommended every year because influenza mutates with time and develops resistance against the vaccine. So, to prevent the risk of getting infected with the new strain, every year more potential vaccinations are needed.
10. Maintain Regular Cleanliness
Regular cleanliness should be a very important part of healthy living as it keeps all the allergens, dirt, bacteria, viruses and foreign materials at bay. Keeping the house clean regularly and disinfecting surfaces, furniture and toys frequently kills all the germs which may enter our body and cause us illness. Also, don't forget to maintain proper ventilation in the house.