Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine flu builds - Oman MoH says 'don't panic'. Dragon says 'wash your hands'

As the flu spreads, people are naturally getting concerned, and GCC Health Ministers met this week. The UAE announced it had enough Tamiflu stockpiles to treat 40,000 people [1 million doses], and the Centre for Disease Control has confirmed the general influenza anti-viral Tamiflu seems effective so far.

There is a great map showing the status of the spread of swine flu on Google Plague Maps.

The Omani Ministry of Health says all is under control.

The symptoms of this new flu initially are the same as 'ordinary' influenza (which remember is also not a nice illness either, especially if you are old and/or immunocompromised), so even if you get the sniffles, don't panic. Also don't mistake a common cold (otherwise known as 'man flu') for influenza.

Also, most people will recover normally.

Are you most people?

The problem is that Tamiflu is only effective if treatment starts within 48 hrs, and also is not without side effects. I haven't tried to buy any lately in Oman, but normally such a powerful drug would be prescription only. I would say if you have vulnerable relatives, like old people, or young babies, you should take precautions to stop them getting the illness in the first place. Very young children can't take Tamiflu anyhow.

So, prevention. What should you do?

Frequently wash your hands with soap and/or hand sanitiser. Make people coming to your home sanitise their hands on entry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Avoid groups of people.
Avoid people who have recently (within 72 hrs) travelled overseas or come into contact with flu sufferers.
Avoid anyone with cold/flu symptoms (but be aware people are infectious before they exhibit symptoms)
If you get ill, stay away from other people. Do not sneeze or cough near people, or onto items they might touch. Treat your tissues and bodily secretions as toxic waste!
Avoid visiting hospitals - you might carry the virus in, or pick it up there.
Have some stockpiles of water and food so if necessary you can stay home for several days.
Eat as much pork as you want. You don't get this flu from pork, no matter what the Abu Dhabi food authority thinks.

More info: swine influenza FAQ swine flu FAQ slideshow


  1. Just to add, I like to either wipe down shopping trolly and basket handles at grocery stores with anti-bacterial wipes, or if I don't have any in my purse, I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my car for when I'm done shopping :D

    I've seen people picking their noses in LuLu while walking around with a can't steer those with one hand you know.

  2. 1 more bit- you should also wash all fruit before you cut into it, even stuff like pineapples and watermelons because you don't know who touched it before you bought it and when you cut into with a knife bacteria moves onto the knife and into your fruit.

    The bread bins at Al Fair are also highly can't wash bread and people like to squeeze the loafs....

  3. Tamiflu is RO.23.250 per box of ten capsules. Available in Oman without prescription, I believe. Wife says better be safe than sorry and bought a couple boxes.

  4. Common guys, as long as you don't get into contact with people who have travelled to the US and Mexico, you will be fine. Don't go overboard with the hysteria.

  5. Angry,

    Its your choice. The pharmacy today when I asked them, reported a surge in inquires for Tamiflu and she'd just ordered a load.

    One woman asked for 5 boxes of 10.

    They are still trying to figure out why 20-45 yr olds seemed especially vulnerable in Mexico.


    We'll see.

    But actually you're saying 'as long as you don't touch something touched by someone who lives with someone who was at the airport next to a man who's sister just got back from Dallas airport... ', you'll be fine.

  6. UD, what I am saying is, going out and buying tamiflu at least right now might be a major step, as long as you wash your hands thoroughly everytime you come home from outside (which you might or should do anyway), that should be enough, for now.

    Anyway, lets see what the Health Ministers have to say.

    Most people have survived, its only babies or people with a poor immune system that needs to be very very careful. Hence, anyone who has very old family members or babies, should ask a doctor about getting tamiflu. For others, at this point in time its not necessary. Just ordinary hygiene is enough.


    Good Bloog my friend!! Congratulations!!

    good luck!! See you!

  8. JD has been sneezing all day and has massive cravings for a bacon sandwich......could it be the first signs?????

    Oh my GOD!

    Some of you need to realise that while Swine Flu is on the rise, it is hardly a major danger in the big picture.
    Just look at what is going round on a daily basis in Africa, Asia and the Americas and you will begin to see that the media and "significant others" are blowing this out of proportion.

    The real question on everyone's lips should be "Why?"
    Have a sniff around other headlines and recent events.

    Never mind what they are trying to draw your attention to......what are they trying to draw your attention AWAY FROM?


  9. I think the most important thing is to have the right information and not get carried away by rumours. Prevention is better than cure and even if you have to give the cinema a miss I think it would be worth it. Hanging in balance could be someones life and also one could inadvertently spread the virus.
    Avoiding crowded places and practising good hygiene seem to be the only things we can do, but is it enough..

  10. I checked the map.
    No one ever takes any notice of our part of the world!
    I thought there was a 20 number floating around for Oman.


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