Swine Flu and You

Recently the United States declared a public health emergency in response to the recent reports of swine flu. The information below will help you understand some important facts about swine flu so you may take appropriate actions to help protect yourself and your family.

What is Swine Influenza?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

How Do You Catch It?

Although people do not normally get the swine flu, the virus is contagious and humans can be infected. The virus is spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Humans are typically contagious anywhere from one day before the start of the illness to 7 days after onset. Note: Swine flu CANNOT be contracted from eating pork and pork products.

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?

According to the Centers for Disease Control , the symptoms of swine flu in people are very similar to seasonal influenza and generally include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing, although some people also develop a runny nose, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea,

Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?

In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm . CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.

How can I avoid catching it?

  • Frequent hand washing. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also helpful.
  • Avoid contact with those who are ill.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (or your elbow) when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

More Information

Two Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Tax Day (April 15) is just around the corner and we wanted to remind you that recently enacted legislation has introduced two new great opportunities for tax savings. The first one is an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers and the second one is related to energy efficient home improvements. Below we have outlined the details.


First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

In 2008, the Federal Government through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorized a first-time homebuyer tax credit of $7,500. The stimulus package of 2009 made some significant changes:

  • Increased the tax credit to $8,000.
  • No longer required to pay back the tax credit as long as you stay in your home for 3 years.
  • Tax credit phases out for individuals making more than $75,000 or couple earning more than $150,000.
  • Most types of primary residences qualify including mobile homes and house boats.
  • Tax credit will reduce your tax liability and/or refund you money if you don't owe any taxes.

Although the tax credit did not turn out to be as much as had been hoped for, it is still a great opportunity for first-time homebuyers . For the complete details see this article- $8,000 Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers

Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Home Improvements

Home improvement tax credits are now available for home improvements “placed in service” from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. Home improvement tax credits up to $1,500 (raised from $500) are available for insulation, replacement windows, water heaters, certain high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and biomass stoves. Also, the percent of the cost versus the project has been raised from 10% to 30%. For more information, see the Dept of Energy's Energy Star program http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits

This article contains general information. Individual financial situations are unique; please, consult your financial advisor or tax attorney before utilizing any of the information contained in this article.

Related Articles

View Site in Mobile | Classic
Share by: