Swine Flu H1N1

Swine Flu
What is H1N1 (swine flu)?

H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

Why is the H1N1 virus called the "swine flu"?

This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a "quadruple reassortant" virus.

 
 
What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?

The symptoms of this new H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this new H1N1 virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.   The high risk groups for novel H1N1 flu are not known at this time but it’s possible that they may be the same as for seasonal influenza. People at higher risk of serious complications from seasonal flu include people age 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people who are immunosuppressed (e.g., taking immunosuppressive medications, infected with HIV).

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
    * Severe or persistent 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:

    * Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    * Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    * Sudden dizziness
    * Confusion
    * Severe or persistent vomiting
    * Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

 
Protect Your Self, Your Family and Your Community

  1. Stay informed. Health officials will provide additional information as it becomes available. Visit the CDC H1N1 Flu website.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  5. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  6. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Keep away from other household members as much as possible. This is to keep you from infecting others and spreading the virus further.


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