I have heard this about a hundred times today, so I figured I’d climb on my (very short) soapbox for a moment to speak my peace.
There has been a lot of news recently about the swine flu outbreak over the past few days. I will agree that there is a cause for concern, but I hope people use this opportunity to be cautious, not for panic.
Flu is transmitted from person to person by flu viruses. While it’s possible to get the virus when someone coughs or sneezes near you, the most common form of transmission is by touching something with the virus on it, and then touching your face or mouth. Thus, it’s important to wash your hands frequently, especially when out in public.
What is driving me absolutely bonkers is the people who think that you can get “swine flu” from eating pork.
You can’t. You cannot get swine flu from a pork chop, bacon, ham, ribs, or any other pork product. From the CDC website FAQ about swine flu:
Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
The CBC has a great article explaining the difference between swine flu and avian flu, how virus mutations happen, and how humans can get infected with swine flu.
Anyway, that’s it. I just wanted to provide an antidote to all the people running around tossing out their BLT sandwiches, and to give a little perspective on the situation.