Although the CDC considers that the risk of contracting H5N1 influenza through wild and poultry birds is low, it is timely to inform you about how to prevent bird flu, to which we have dedicated this post.
What protective measures are recommended for birds?
In general, people should avoid contact with wild birds. This implies that the best prevention is to see them from afar when possible, in this regard the following should be considered:
- Wild birds can be infected with the avian influenza virus even if they do not look sick.
- If you raise or work with poultry, you should avoid having direct contact with them without using some type of protection, especially when they are dead or look sick.
- Avoid, as far as possible, contact with surfaces that may have been contaminated with animal saliva, including mucus and feces from wild or domestic birds.
The best prevention is to avoid sources of exposure
The best way to avoid getting the avian flu is to completely limit contact with sources of exposure. Contaminated birds carry the virus in their saliva, mucus, and feces.
Although it is rare for people to get avian influenza, it is not impossible, and in most cases the virus enters their bodies through the eyes, nose or mouth, including breathing.
In the latter case, contagion occurs because the virus is present in the air in the form of drops or dust and when the person breathes or touches a surface and then passes their hands through the eyes, nose and mouth, it allows it to enter the body. .
This type of contagion between birds and people usually occurs after close, prolonged contact without protection such as gloves, a suit or a mask, through the mechanisms that we explained before.
Protective measures for those who have had contact with birds infected with avian influenza at work
Those people who work with poultry are more exposed to contracting this virus, therefore it is essential that they use protective equipment that includes gloves, a mask and protective glasses or a face shield.
Additionally, it is essential to wash your hands correctly and frequently, especially after handling the birds. In the event that some of them are sick, it will be necessary to change clothes before establishing contact with healthy or wild ones to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some of the protection implements such as gloves and masks are disposable, so they must be disposed of correctly after each use.
Seasonal flu shots
From 6 months of age, people can be vaccinated annually against seasonal influenza, this is especially recommended for those who usually come into contact with birds and it is recommended to apply it at least two weeks before exposure.
Although getting vaccinated against seasonal influenza does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it has been shown that it does reduce the risk of being infected with both types of flu at the same time and, when applied early enough, strengthens the immune system of people so that they can recover faster.
Preventive measures against bird flu during travel
As a summary, below we list some of the main preventive measures to avoid getting this disease during a trip:
- Do not visit agricultural farms, markets or places where poultry is sold.
- Do not consume products derived from raw or precooked poultry meat.
- Maintain good hygiene and cleanliness habits.
- Consult a doctor if you get sick.
As you have been able to appreciate throughout the reading of this post, infected birds are not necessarily recognizable visually, but they can still carry the virus and infect you. Therefore, the best thing you can do during a trip is to avoid direct contact with them, whether they are alive or their meat in the form of food.