Swine Flu 101

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The state Department of Public Health reports more than 1500 Alabamians have come down with the H1N1 virus. How can you reduce the chances of getting swine flu from the virus? First, you have to understand how this virus spreads. It only takes one cough or sneeze from an infected person to spread the sickness to others. Droplets from a cough or a sneeze can move through the air. You can pick up the bug when just by touching something - such as a phone - with the flu virus on it and then touching your face.

How long does that virus live outside the body? Up to 8 hours. Which means an infected person can use your phone in the morning and you can pick up the virus in the afternoon.

You can spread the flu up to 24 hours before you show any symptoms and from five to seven days after.

What kills the virus? High temperature and chemicals. Heat of at least 167 degrees destroys the virus as do chemicals like chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, soap and alcohol - like you'll find in hand sanitizers. Remember, when using hand sanitizers, rub your hands until they are dry.

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