Oct 15, 2009 -
What You Need To know About H1N1
The 2009 H1N1 flu (sometimes called "swine flu") is a new influenza virus that is spreading worldwide among people. Because this virus is very different from current seasonal influenza viruses, many people will not have protective immunity against it and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against it either.
Influenza is unpredictable, but this flu season could be worse than recent years because of the 2009 H1N1 virus. CDC is preparing for an early flu season and expects both 2009 H1N1 flu and seasonal flu to cause illness and hospital stays this season.
To protect those at greatest risk of 2009 H1N1, CDC recommends that certain people get the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine first. These key groups include people who are at higher risk of getting sick or having serious flu complications, those who are likely to come in contact with 2009 H1N1, and those who could infect young infants who cannot be vaccinated themselves.
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or provide care for children younger than 6 months of age
- Health care and emergency medical service personnel
- People 6 months to 24 years of age
- People 25 to 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 flu complications because of an underlying health condition or compromised immune systems
CDC suggests taking everyday preventive actions, such as:
- 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 with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.
Flu symptoms can include:
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Body Aches
- Sometimes Diarrhea
*It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Emergency Warning Signs In Children:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- 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
- Fever with a rash
Emergency Warning Signs In Adults:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
If sick, how long should you stay at home?
If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Avoid normal activities, including work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings. If you must leave the house (for example to see your doctor), wear a facemask, if you have one and it is tolerable, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve and wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.
For more information visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu or www.flu.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.