What is the H1N1 flu?
Formerly referred to as the swine flu, H1N1 is a respiratory illness caused by an influenza virus.
Symptoms of H1N1 novel influenza are similar to the seasonal flu and include one or more of these conditions:
- Fever above 100° F
- Headache or body aches
- Feeling of weakness or exhaustion
- Cough and sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Diarrhea and vomiting, in some cases.
How does it spread?
When people with the flu cough or sneeze, they release the virus into the air and onto surfaces. When other people breathe in the particles or touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they introduce the virus into their bodies.
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Get a H1N1 influenza vaccine when it becomes available.
- Get a seasonal flu shot. Even though a seasonal flu shot won’t protect you against H1N1, it will help you stay healthier during the flu season.
- Do everything to help your immune system. Eat nutritious foods, stay active and avoid tobacco.
- If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with other people so you don’t spread your illness to others. Because you may be contagious after some of your symptoms subside, stay home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your arm or a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in the waste basket immediately and clean your hands.
- If someone in your household is sick, separate that person from other household members and take extra care to clean surfaces touched by the sick person. Keep sick children home from school.
For more information
- Minnesota Department of Health: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/flu/index.html
- Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/general_info.htm
Oct. 26, 2009
Last updated Sep. 27, 2011