Health officials around the globe have declared swine flu (officially known as novel H1N1 or 2009 H1N1) a pandemic. Although the virus itself was discovered quite recently, its spread has been closely monitored by governmental organizations and dutifully reported in the news.
Because it's a new virus, most of us don't have any natural immunity to it. Furthermore, there is concern that it may mutate into a more dangerous virus and create a health crisis that is on scale with the public alarm and media furor surrounding it. This unique virus has a combination of genes from existing human, bird and swine viruses. (Its name is a result of the swine flu genes being discovered first.)
So aside from panicking and staying glued to your cable news outlet, what can you do to protect yourself against swine flu this season? First off, you can start by listening to your mother. No, brushing your teeth won't help, but another oft-advised form of cleaning can. Read on to find out what it is.