Posted by Dr. Baum and Dr. Kates-Chinoy

What is H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)?

The H1N1 flu was originally called ‘swine flu’ because the flu virus looked similar to flu in pigs. But, this new virus actually has genes from swine, bird, and the human flu, and it can infect people.

How do people catch the H1N1 (swine) flu?

The H1N1 flu spreads from person to person in the same way as seasonal flu – mostly from coughs and sneezes of infected people, and from touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after they get sick.

What are the symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people?

The symptoms of H1N1 flu in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal human flu and include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 flu may cause chronic medical problems to become more severe. There is no easy way for you or your doctor to tell the difference between H1N1 flu and other types of flu or other germs. It takes a lab test to tell if it’s H1N1 flu.

What can I do to protect myself and my family from getting sick?

There are simple things that you can do to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illness, like the flu. Take these steps to protect your health and teach them to your family:

· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners (like Purell) can also be used. Carry these with you for when soap and water are not available.

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

· Avoid close contact with sick people.

· If you get sick with the flu, stay home from work or school, and limit your contact with other people to keep from infecting them.

· 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.

What should I do if I get sick?

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, including: fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should contact your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether H1N1 testing or treatment are needed.

You should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

· Fast breathing or trouble breathing

· Bluish skin color

· Not drinking enough or refusing to drink fluids

· Not urinating for longer than 6-8 hours

· Not waking up or not interacting

· Severe or persistent vomiting

· Being so cranky and fussy 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

· Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough

Do I need a vaccine or prescription medication for H1N1 flu?

Please come talk to your Grain Integrative Health Provider about how we can help you prevent or recover from the flu. We have many ways we can assist you.

This information comes from the CDC website with input and Grain Integrative Health providers.