What is H1N1 (swine flu)? H1N1 (swine flu) is a type of influenza (flu) virus that causes respiratory disease that can spread between people. Most people infected with this virus in the United States have had mild disease. Young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease may be at higher risk for complications from this infection. How to keep from getting the flu? Flu viruses spread from person to person mainly through the coughing or sneezing of a sick person. Flu virus may also be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with the virus and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. We think H1N1 (swine flu) spreads the same way as other flu viruses. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory il nesses like H1N1 (swine flu):
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of their elbow. Teach your
children to stay at least six feet away from people who are sick.
• People who are sick should stay home and stay away from other people until
• In communities where H1N1 (swine flu) has occurred, stay away from
shopping mal s, movie theaters, or other places where there are large groups of people.
What are the symptoms? The symptoms of H1N1 (swine flu) are similar to the symptoms of regular flu. They include:
• Fever • Cough • Sore throat • Body aches • Headache • Chil s and fatigue • Occasional y, vomiting and diarrhea
People who live in these areas who develop an il ness with fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, should contact their health care provider. Their health care provider wil determine whether influenza testing is needed. If your child experiences any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing • Bluish or gray skin color • Not drinking enough fluids • Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that he or she does not want to be held • Not urinating or no tears when crying
Their symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough
What to do if your child is sick:
• Unless they need medical attention, keep children who are sick at
home. Don’t send them to school or daycare.
• Have them drink a lot of liquid (juice, water, Pedialyte ®). • Keep the sick child comfortable. Rest is important. • For fever, sore throat, and muscle aches, you can use fever-reducing
medicines that your doctor recommends based on your child’s age. Do not use aspirin with children or teenagers; it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening il ness.
• If someone in your home is sick, keep him or her away from those who
• Keep tissues close to the sick person and have a trash bag within
People with swine flu who are cared for at home should: • check with their health care provider about any special care they might need if
they are pregnant or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema
• check with their health care provider about whether they should take antiviral
• stay home for 7 days after the start of il ness and fever is gone • get plenty of rest • drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages
for infants) to keep from being dehydrated
• cover coughs and sneezes. Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-
based hand rub often and especial y after using tissues and after coughing or sneezing into hands.
• avoid close contact with others – do not go to work or school while il • be watchful for emergency warning signs (see below) that might indicate you
Steps to Lessen the Spread of Flu in the Home: When providing care to a household member who is sick with influenza, the most important ways to protect yourself and others who are not sick are to:
• Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible (see
“placement of the sick person at home”)
• Remind the sick person to cover their coughs, and clean their hands with
soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especial y after coughing and/or sneezing.
• Have everyone in the household clean their hands often, using soap and
• Keep the sick person in a room separate from the common areas of the
house. (For example, a spare bedroom with its own bathroom, if that’s possible.) Keep the sickroom door closed.
• Unless necessary for medical care, persons with the flu should not leave the
home when they have a fever or during the time that they are most likely to spread their infection to others (7 days after onset of symptoms in adults. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days).
• If persons with the flu need to leave the home (for example, for medical care),
they should cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and wear a loose-fitting (surgical) mask if available.
• Have the sick person wear a surgical mask if they need to be in a common
• If possible, sick persons should use a separate bathroom. This bathroom
should be cleaned daily with household disinfectant (see below).
If you are the caregiver: • Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person. • When holding smal children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder
so that they wil not cough in your face.
• Clean your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub after
you touch the sick person or handle used tissues, or laundry.
Household Cleaning, Laundry, and Waste Disposal: • Throw away tissues and other disposable items used by the sick person in
the trash. Wash your hands after touching used tissues and similar waste.
• Keep surfaces (especial y bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys
for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
• Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not
need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
• Wash linens (such as bed sheets and towels) by using household laundry
soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. Avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating yourself. Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub right after handling dirty laundry.
• Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with
Vaccine There is no vaccine available at this time for this new flu virus, so it is important for people living in the affected areas to take steps to prevent spreading the virus to others. If people are il , they should stay at home and limit contact with others, except to seek medical care. Healthy residents living in these areas should take the everyday preventive actions listed above. 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 are safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kil s the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses. Swine flu is thought to spread in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed? To diagnose swine influenza, a respiratory specimen would general y need to be col ected within the first 4 to 5 days of il ness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans? There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to al four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. Facemasks If used correctly, facemasks and respirators may help reduce the risk of getting influenza, but they should be used along with other preventive measures, such as avoiding close contact and maintaining good hand hygiene. The fol owing information can help you provide safer care at home for sick persons during a flu pandemic. Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Fact Sheet
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from
• Stay home from work, child care, school, and errands when you are sick,
• Keep sick children at home except to see medical care. You wil help
prevent others from catching the il ness.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often. • Washing your hands and the hands of your children often wil help
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. • Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is
contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits. • Get plenty of sleep, be physical y active, and manage your stress • Drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
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