Tips that can help you avoid avian influenza (Bird Flu) come from World Health Organization for Southeast Asia, where domestic poultry are kept at home and markets. I list below the ones that also apply to non-poultry areas like us.

14apr2006, I find this WHO site from the western Pacific region one of the best sites for information that is valid and written to be understandable by the general public, especially in rural or remote areas. Pam

Their website was last updated: 06 March 2006

1. I live in an area where bird flu has been reported from poultry. How can I protect myself?
* Avoid unnecessary contacts with live, sick and dead birds. Do not touch feathers and liquid waste of poultry, these may have virus in large quantity.
* Remember children are especially vulnerable therefore take steps to prevent their coming in contact with poultry.
* If you see chicken dying or sick report to local authorities.

2. I live in an area where bird flu has not been reported from poultry. How can I protect myself?
* You don’t need to worry about bird flu.
* If you see chicken dying or sick report to local authorities and avoid contact with sick or dying chickens.

4. I live in an area where bird flu is being reported from poultry. Should I avoid eating chicken?

* Bird flu virus is killed in properly cooked food. While cooking, ensure that no part of the chicken remains pink.
* No case of bird flu has occurred till date due to ingestion of cooked food.

5. Can I get bird flu from eggs obtained from bird flu affected areas? How can I protect myself?

* Eggs obtained from affected areas can have virus on their surface because of soiling with contaminated soil or excretions of poultry. Virus can also gain entry inside the egg.
* Wash the outer surface of the egg with soapy water and thoroughly cook the egg. Check that the yolk is not runny. Don’t use raw eggs in any cooked preparation.
* Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning or cooking the eggs.

10. Does hand washing kill bird flu virus?
* Hand washing done properly destroys bird flu virus.
* Hand washing is best performed using soap and warm running water.
* Ensure that all areas of the hand have been washed properly.
* Wash hands for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds. It gives adequate time for the soap to kill the virus.
* After washing, pat dry the hands.

11. I don’t have soap or water, how can I make my hands free of bird flu virus?
* Use a 70% alcohol – based hand rub solution. Use sufficient quantity to completely cover your hands.
* Wash your hands using running water and soap as soon as these become available.
* Please note that alcohol rub only destroys germs. It does not clean the hands. Hand washing does both.

13. How can I clean the objects and surfaces that have been touched by a patient of bird flu?
* Wipe clean with a disinfectant such as lysol or sodium hypochlorite and clean with soapy water.
* Wash your hands afterwards.


Sodium hypochlorite is bleach or Clorox. Dilute according to directions.

Also note, don’t over clean your hands to the point the skin is broken and chapped. A healthy skin barrier is a frontline defense against germs.

A hand-rub solution is something like Purell (62%). Some of these hand sanitizers may be less effective (less than 50%). be sure to check the labels. At YKHC I saw a similar solution manufactured by the 3M Company.

The so-called disinfecting dish soaps or anti-microbial soaps, like Palmolive, are no more effective than good old handwashing with soap.

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