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Fluids & Electrolytes
Patient education: Influenza A(H1N1) (Swine Flu)
What is H1N1 flu?
H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, is a respiratory illness caused by type A influenza viruses. This virus was originally referred to as "swine flu" because it was thought to be very similar to flu viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America. H1N1 flu was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009.
How does H1N1 flu spread?
H1N1 flu is contagious and is spreading between people. This virus may be transmitted in similar ways that other flu viruses spread, through coughing or sneezing. A person may be able to infect another person one day before symptoms develop and for seven or more days (longer for children) after becoming sick. It is possible that someone may become infected by touching something with the virus on it and then touching his mouth or nose. Eating pork does not cause swine influenza.
What are the symptoms of H1N1 flu?
The symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting may also be associated with H1N1 flu. Most people with the virus have recovered without needing treatment, but hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.
What should I do if I think I have H1N1 flu?
If you have flu symptoms and live in an area where H1N1 flu had been identified, stay home and avoid contact with other people to avoid spreading your illness. It is recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health care provider. He or she will determine whether testing or treatment is needed.
Seek emergency medical care for any of the following warning signs:
How is H1N1 flu treated?
The CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) or zanamivir (brand name Relenza) to treat and/or prevent swine influenza. These antiviral medications may also prevent serious complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started within 2 days of symptoms.
What can I do to prevent H1N1 flu?
You can reduce your risk of swine influenza and other influenza viruses by:
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