Swine Flu H1N1 - frequently asked questions? - Health Tips

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Swine Flu H1N1 - frequently asked questions?

Swine Flu H1N1 - frequently asked questions?


What is swine flu?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Is this swine flu virus contagious?

CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people and between countries.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache,chills and fatigue. Some people have reported 
diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical
conditions.

How does swine flu spread?

Spread of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way as that of seasonal flu. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?

Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?

First and most important: wash your hands frequently. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people having respiratory illness.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?

Yes. The use of Oseltamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses is recommended. Antiviral drugs 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. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). They are currently available with hospitals and are to be administered under supervision of clinicians.

How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?

People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following onset of illness. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air.

How long can viruses live outside the body?

We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

Currently available seasonal influenza vaccine does not protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:-
  • 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,especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people having respiratory illness.
  • If one gets sick with influenza, one must stay at home, away from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. However, if one is having any respiratory distress, one should report to a nearby hospital.
What should I do if I get sick?


If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza like symptoms e.g. fever, body aches, runny nose,sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. 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 skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids/eating food
  • 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
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
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?

No. swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe. 

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Swine Flu H1N1 - frequently asked questions? Reviewed by B Thirunavukkarasu on Friday, February 20, 2015 Rating: 5

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