Bird flu is on the rise yet again, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Bird flu (also known as avian flu) is a virus that is common naturally in birds but can also infect humans. Since 2003, the bird flu has infected 565 people and killed 331 of them, that averages to more than 41 people being killed by bird flu yearly.
According to the site How to Prevent Birdflu, there are a few helpful measures to prevent getting infected and sick.
- Don’t touch your face with your hands. If you’re handling raw poultry, you run the risk of catching the disease, if you touch raw meat and then touch your face you are giving an open invitation to infection.
- Wash your hands after handling raw meat. Though this seems obvious, for more info read these Meat Safety tips
- The virus could potentially hide in mucus membranes. The best way to keep your nostrils clear is by using a neti pot, which not only will keep foreign bacteria out of your nose, it will help improve your overall sinus health.
Finally, face masks do help. So if you are going to a hospital, riding an airplane, or hanging out in a chicken coop, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most importantly, always wash your hands. Sticking your hands under water fast does not count. The quick tip for knowing if you are washing your hands properly is to use soap and water for a full 30 seconds. One tip is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself while you wash, which is roughly a 30-second song.
Here’s information from the Center for Disease Control guide to when you should wash your hands:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
- Before and after treating a cut or wound