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Archive for October 27th, 2009

Lately H1N1 flu has been all over the news. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has some specific guidelines to prevent catching this flu and, if you do catch it, they have recommendations on how to avoid spreading the flu germs to others. The main point is that you should stay home, rest and recover from the flu for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. For more detailed information from the CDC, read on. And getting together for “Swine Flu parties,” where people purposely try to contract the flu from someone that is infected to build immunity, is not such a good idea. You never know who will get severely ill and who will just get a slight case of the flu. Why risk it if you don’t have to!

2009 H1N1 Flu in Humans

Flu virus under microscope

Is 2009 H1N1 virus contagious?
The 2009 H1N1 virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human.

How does 2009 H1N1 virus spread?

coughing and sneezing spreads germs

Spread of 2009 H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?
The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, including 2009 H1N1 and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. Severe illnesses and deaths have occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

How severe is illness associated with 2009 H1N1 flu virus?
Illness with 2009 H1N1 virus has ranged from mild to severe. While most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths from infection with this virus have occurred.

In seasonal flu, certain people are at “high risk” of serious complications. This includes people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions. About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with this 2009 H1N1 virus have had one or more medical conditions previously recognized as placing people at “high risk” of serious seasonal flu-related complications. This includes pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

Young children are at risk

Young children are also at high risk of serious complications from 2009 H1N1, just as they are from seasonal flu. And while people 65 and older are the least likely to be infected with 2009 H1N1 flu, if they get sick, they are also at “high risk” of developing serious complications from their illness. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for more information about who is more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death.

CDC laboratory studies have shown that no children and very few adults younger than 60 years old have existing antibody to 2009 H1N1 flu virus; however, about one-third of adults older than 60 may have antibodies against this virus. It is unknown how much, if any, protection may be afforded against 2009 H1N1 flu by any existing antibody.

How does 2009 H1N1 flu compare to seasonal flu in terms of its severity and infection rates?
With seasonal flu, we know that seasons vary in terms of timing, duration and severity. Seasonal influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Each year, in the United States, on average 36,000 people die from flu-related complications and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related causes. Of those hospitalized, 20,000 are children younger than 5 years old. Over 90% of deaths and about 60 percent of hospitalization occur in people older than 65.

When the 2009 H1N1 outbreak was first detected in mid-April 2009, CDC began working with states to collect, compile and analyze information regarding the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, including the numbers of confirmed and probable cases and the ages of these people. The information analyzed by CDC supports the conclusion that 2009 H1N1 flu has caused greater disease burden in people younger than 25 years of age than older people. At this time, there are relatively fewer cases and deaths reported in people 65 years and older, which is unusual when compared with seasonal flu. However, pregnancy and other previously recognized high risk medical conditions from seasonal influenza appear to be associated with increased risk of complications from this 2009 H1N1. These underlying conditions include asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders and pregnancy.

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
People infected with seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1N1 virus.

Prevention & Treatment

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
This season, there is a seasonal flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu viruses and a 2009 H1N1 vaccine to protect against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (sometimes called “swine flu”). A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu infection. For information about the 2009 H1N1 vaccines, visit H1N1 Flu Vaccination Resources. For information about seasonal influenza vaccines, visit Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination.

There are also everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands

* Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.*
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

Other important actions that you can take are:

* Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
* Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand rubs * (for when soap and water are not available), tissues and other related items could help you to avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and contagious.

What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

Keep away from others as much as possible. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

If I have a family member at home who is sick with 2009 H1N1 flu, should I go to work?

Employees who are well but who have an ill family member at home with 2009 H1N1 flu can go to work as usual. These employees should monitor their health every day, and take everyday precautions including covering their coughs and sneezes and washing their hands often with soap and water, especially after they cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, they should use an alcohol-based hand rub.* If they become ill, they should notify their supervisor and stay home. Employees who have an underlying medical condition or who are pregnant should call their health care provider for advice, because they might need to receive influenza antiviral drugs. For more information please see General Business and Workplace Guidance for the Prevention of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Flu in Workers.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. CDC recommends that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used.* You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?
For information about what to do if you get sick with flu-like symptoms this season, see What To Do If You Get Sick: 2009 H1N1 and Seasonal Flu. A downloadable flyer Adobe PDF file containing this information also is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/what_to_do_if_you_get_sick.pdf Adobe PDF file.

What are “emergency warning signs” that should signal anyone to seek medical care urgently?

In children:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
* Fever with a rash

In adults:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting

Are there medicines to treat 2009 H1N1 infection?

Yes. There are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating both seasonal and 2009 H1N1 called “antiviral drugs.” These drugs can make you better faster and may also prevent serious complications. This flu season, antiviral drugs are being used mainly to treat people who are very sick, such as people who need to be hospitalized, and to treat sick people who are more likely to get serious flu complications. Your health care provider will decide whether antiviral drugs are needed to treat your illness. Remember, most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true of seasonal flu.

What is CDC’s recommendation regarding “swine flu parties”?
“Swine flu parties” are gatherings during which people have close contact with a person who has 2009 H1N1 flu in order to become infected with the virus. The intent of these parties is for a person to become infected with what for many people has been a mild disease, in the hope of having natural immunity 2009 H1N1 flu virus that might circulate later and cause more severe disease.

CDC does not recommend “swine flu parties” as a way to protect against 2009 H1N1 flu in the future. While the disease seen in the current 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak has been mild for many people, it has been severe and even fatal for others. There is no way to predict with certainty what the outcome will be for an individual or, equally important, for others to whom the intentionally infected person may spread the virus.

CDC recommends that people with 2009 H1N1 flu avoid contact with others as much as possible. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
Contamination & Cleaning

Clean surfaces and doorknobs, phones and counters

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?
Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

What kills influenza virus?
Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time.

What if soap and water are not available and alcohol-based products are not allowed in my facility?
If soap and water are not available and alcohol-based products are not allowed, other hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may be useful.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How should waste disposal be handled to prevent the spread of influenza virus?
To prevent the spread of influenza virus, it is recommended that tissues and other disposable items used by an infected person be thrown in the trash. Additionally, persons should wash their hands with soap and water after touching used tissues and similar waste.

What household cleaning should be done to prevent the spread of influenza virus?
To prevent the spread of influenza virus it is important to keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

How should linens, eating utensils and dishes of persons infected with influenza virus be handled?

Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
Linens (such as bed sheets and towels) should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Individuals should avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating themselves. Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry.

Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

For more info go to the

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Many Working Well Massage clients travel for business. Aside from cramped airplane seats, long waits in security lines, and walking for miles on concrete terminal floors, air travel requires sitting for long periods, breathing in stale recycled air and can be dehydrating. Where do weary travelers go for relief while waiting for their planes to board? Well, you can go to the airport bar and have a cocktail, beer or cup of Starbucks finest, but keep in mind that alcohol and caffeine are both dehydrating. Health conscious travelers go to an airport massage station, spa, oxygen bar or get a pampering manicure to pass the time and help their bodies adjust to air travel stress. And then they drink plenty of water!

What Services Do Airport Spas Provide? from By Anitra Brown, at About.com

• Chair Massage — The most common service is a seated or chair massage. You sit fully clothed in a special chair that cradles you face while the massage therapist works on your back and shoulders.

And you can get a chair massage for as short as ten or 15 minutes. It is great for working out kinks before they turn into hard knots! These are sometimes available in small “kiosks” right by the gates.

• Oxygen Therapy — You sit in a comfy chair with a two-pronged plastic tube up your nose, usually for 15 minutes, getting oxygen scented with essential oils that help you relax or boost your immune system.

• Other popular services are manicures and pedicures. Facials are more unusual, but sometimes available. A few places offer full salon services — cut, color even highlights.

Massage and Spa Services at U.S. Airports

Here’s a list of some of stress relieving services compiled from articles by Harriet Baskas of USA Today and Anitra Brown of About.com:

• Austin- Bergstrom International Airport Knot Anymore offers chair massages

• Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has two Destination Relaxations — one is a chair-massage kiosk on Pier B and the other a full-service store on Pier D that offers table and chair massages, as well as foot and hand rubs.

• Boston Logan International airport
The Jetsetter Mini Spa offers chair and table massages, manicures, pedicures and facials.
Boston’s Logan Airport also has Polished, in Terminal C, just before the security checkpoint at Gates 25-36. Polished offers foot, hand, back, neck and shoulder massages, manicures, pedicures, make-up applications and men’s grooming services.

• Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has the Backrub Hub, offering neck and back massages in Terminal 3 (by the American and Delta gates). Massages also are offered at the full-service health club at the O’Hare Hilton, accessible via pedestrian tunnels from the terminal.

• Denver International Airport is served by two locations of A Massage Inc. You can get a haircut or massage (chair or table) at the location on Concourse B. The other is in the Main Terminal, on Level 6.

• Detroit Wayne County International Airport-OraOxygen
This airport has an underground passage with a trippy light show and New Age music. If you need more, the OraOxygen Spa by Gate A45 gives oxygen treatments, as well as facials, manicures, pedicures,a and massages, including foot massages and a 90-minute hot-stone massage. You can even take showers.

• Indianapolis International Airport
The post-security Enroute Massage and Spa (formerly Passport Travel Spa) offers manicures and pedicures, chair and table massages, and a new 20-minute, three-technician, three-service treatment (the “3 in 20”) that offers time-pressed travelers a neck and shoulder massage as well as hand and foot treatments — all at the same time.

• John F. Kennedy International Airport- Elemis Travel Spa and XpresSpa
While the Elemis Travel Spa in Terminal 7 offers complimentary massages to British Airways’ top-tier travelers.

XpresSpa in JetBlue’s new Terminal 5 offers passengers will find pay-as-you-go services ranging from head, foot, leg, back and shoulder massages to manicures, pedicures and facials.

• Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport
Oxygen treatments are also available at here at three Oxygen Bar locations.

• Miami International airport
The Jetsetter Mini Spa offers chair and table massages, manicures, pedicures and facials. The Miami branch also has a sleep pod for napping.

• Nashville-The Massage Bar
Heat therapy, foot massages and a variety of seated massage services.

• Newark-D-Parture Spa
d_parture spa offers chair massage, spa pedicures combines with massage, and cuts, color and manicures. d_parture spa has two Newark airport locations: Terminal C at Gate 92 and Terminal B across from the Duty Free shop. In addition, The Terminal B location offers oxygen therapy and has a private room for full-body massages and European facials.

Also in Newark, The Massage Bar in Terminal A offers 15-minutes of seated massage for $21 or 30 minutes for $39. Ten minutes of foot refexology is $15. A second kiosk location is in Newark’s A-3 connector.

• New York’s LaGuardia Airport
XpresSpa offers passengers will find pay-as-you-go services ranging from head, foot, leg, back and shoulder massages to manicures, pedicures and facials.

• Orlando International Airport d_parture Spa
The menu includes hair and nail services, as well as waxing, chair and foot massages, and facials.

• At Pittsburgh International Airport Polished offers foot, hand, back, neck and shoulder massages, manicures, pedicures, make-up applications and men’s grooming services. It’s located at the beginning of Concourse A, after security.

• Sacramento Columbus, Ohio-The Massage Bar
Heat therapy, foot massages and a variety of seated massage services.

• Seattle-Tacoma International Airport-The Massage Bar
In addition to heat therapy, foot massages and a variety of seated massage services, the Massage Bar offers happy hour discounts.

• Washington Dulles International Airport-The Massage Bar provides massage in a a kiosk on Concourse B.

Canadian Airports Spa Services

• Alberta’s Calgary International Airport-OraOxygen
A full-range of massage services, plus ear candling, showers and oxygen sessions, are offered.

• British Columbia’s Vancouver International Airport has three locations of Absolute Spa. Services include massage, pedicures, manicures, facials, and oxygen treatments. Absolute is located before the security gates in the International Departures area; past security in the U.S. Departures area; and in the Fairmont Hotel in the International Terminal.

International Airport Spa Services from Spa Index

• Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport-OraOxygen
A full-range of massage services, plus ear candling, showers and oxygen sessions, are offered.

• Cancun Airport-The Salon Spa at Cancun Airport, Terminal 2, A Gates

• London, England-The Molton Brown Travel Spa
British Airways Terminal 1 and Terminal 4, Departures Lounge. Complimentary spa treatments to British Airways customers traveling First Class and Club World, and gold cardholders.

• Frankfort, Germany-Frankfurt Airport (FRA)- Be Relax Spa
Terminal 2
Be Relax provides relaxation and beauty services at the heart of airports and business around the world. Day after day, Be Relax professionals provide support with our relaxation centers when you most need to take a break. Services are designed to be of short duration and without requiring appointments.

• Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)-Regal Airport Hotel Health Spa and Pool
Full menu of services, including gymnasium, fitness center, aerobics, sauna, steam room, massage services, spa beauty treatments. Connect from the hotel to the Passenger terminal of Hong Kong International Airport via the sky-way.

• Milan, Italy-Linate Airport (LIN) – Be Relax Spa
Be Relax provides relaxation and beauty services at the heart of airports and business around the world. Day after day, Be Relax professionals provide support with our relaxation centers when you most need to take a break. Services are designed to be of short duration and without requiring appointments.

• Paris, France-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG)
Be Relax Spa with locations in most terminals — visit website for individual phone numbers and email addresses for each CDG kiosk.
Be Relax provides relaxation and beauty services at the heart of airports and business around the world. Day after day, Be Relax professionals provide support with our relaxation centers when you most need to take a break. Services are designed to be of short duration and without requiring appointments.

Airport Massage Chairs
Even, Smarte Carte, the company best known for renting airport luggage carts, is getting in on the airport massage action. The company maintains self-service, automated massage chairs in about 30 airports, including Anchorage, Cincinnati, Dallas-Fort Worth, Reno and Pittsburgh.

Airport Nail Services

In addition to the spas mentioned above, travelers with nails in need can also visit one of the thirteen airport locations of 10 Minute Manicure or stop in at one of the three airport locations (Seattle, Sacramento and Dulles) of butter LONDON, a nail salon with a non-toxic product line.

Harriet Baskas writes about travel etiquette for MSNBC.com and is the author of the airport guidebook Stuck at the Airport and a blog of the same name.

Anitra Brown, Guide to Spas for About.com, is a journalist specializing in spas who decided to experience the other side of the treatment table. In addition to her writing, she is a licensed esthetician in the states of New York and Arizona and has worked at several luxury resort spas, including Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms in Phoenix.

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