Swine Flu H1N1 Virus


What is H1N1 Swine Flu

H1N1 Swine Flu in People
How Do You Get H1N1 Swine Flu
Prevention and Treatment
Contamination and Cleaning
Response & Investigation

Prevention and Treatment of the H1N1 Swine Flu

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against the H1N1 Swine flu virus. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.

Take these everyday steps to protect and maintain your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (when available) when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If no tissue is available, use your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also very effective in killing germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs easily spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people and their immediate surroundings.
  • Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This will help to keep you from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

Other important actions that you can take are:

  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues and other related items could be useful and help you avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and contagious.
Swine flu prevention
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through sneezing or coughing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash them with soap and water or cleanthem with an alcohol-based hand cleaner. The Center for Disease Control recommends that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for approximately 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used as a substitute. You can find them in most drugstores and supermarkets . When using a gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where people have been identified with the H1N1 Swine flu and you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. Staying at home means that you should not leave your home except to seek medical care. This means avoiding normal activities, including work, school, shopping, travel, social events, and public gatherings

If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health care provider or seek medical care. Your health care provider will determine whether flu testing or treatment is necessary.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Persistent or severe vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent or severe vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Are there medicines to treat the H1N1 Swine flu infection?
Yes. the Center for Disease Control recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with the H1N1 Swine flu virus. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. During the current outbreak, the priority use for influenza antiviral drugs is to treat severe cases of influenza illness.

What is the Center for Disease Control recommendation regarding "swine flu parties"?
"Swine flu parties" are gatherings during which people have close contact with a person who has the H1N1 Swine flu in order to become infected with the virus. The intent of these parties is to become infected with what for many people has been a mild disease, in the hope of having natural immunity to the H1N1 Swine flu virus that might circulate later and cause more severe disease.

The Center for Disease Control does not recommend "swine flu parties" as a way to protect against the H1N1 Swine flu in the future. While the disease seen in the current H1N1 Swine flu outbreak has been mild for many people, it has been severe and even fatal for others. There is no way to predict with certainty what the outcome will be for an individual or, equally important, for others to whom the intentionally infected person may spread the virus.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that people with the H1N1 Swine flu avoid contact with others as much as possible. They should stay home from work or school for 7 days after the onset of illness or until at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer.