What to do if you get flu-like symptoms
The H1N1 flu virus is causing illness in infected persons. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH expects that illnesses may continue for some time. As a result, you or people around you may become ill. If so, you need to recognize the symptoms and know what to do.
The symptoms of 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 H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. The high risk groups for 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).
Avoid Contact With Others
If you are sick, you may be ill for a week or longer. You should stay home and keep away from others as much as possible, including avoiding travel and not going to work or school, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.) If you leave the house to seek medical care and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. In general, you should avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness, especially people at increased risk of severe illness from influenza. With seasonal flu, people may be contagious from one day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods. People infected with the H1N1 are likely to have similar patterns of infectiousness as with seasonal flu.
Treatment is Available for those who are
It is expected that most people will recover without needing medical care.
, contact your nearest clinic or a health care provider or seek medical care. Your health care provider will determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed. Be aware that if the flu becomes widespread, less testing will be needed, so your health care provider may decide not to test for the flu virus.
Antiviral drugs can be given to treat those who become severely ill with influenza. These antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) with activity against influenza viruses, including H1N1 flu virus. These medications must be prescribed by a health care professional.
There are two influenza antiviral medications that are recommended for use against novel H1N1 flu. The drugs that are used for treating H1N1 flu are called oseltamivir (trade name Tamiflu ®) and zanamivir (Relenza ®). The drugs work best if given within 2 days of becoming ill, but may be given later if illness is severe or for those at a high risk for complications.
Aspirin or aspirin-containing products (e.g., bismuth subsalicylate – Pepto Bismol) should not be administered to any confirmed or suspected ill case of influenza A (H1N1) virus infection aged 18 years old and younger due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome. For relief of fever, other anti-pyretic medications are recommended such as acetaminophen or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
• Check ingredient labels on over-the-counter cold and flu medications to see if
• Children 5 years of age and older and teenagers with the flu can take
aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen
(Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®), to relieve symptoms.
• Children younger than 4 years of age should NOT
be given over-the-counter
cold medications without first speaking with a health care provider.
Emergency Warning Signs
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 Yourself, Your Family, and Community
• Stay informed. Health officials will provide
additional information as it becomes available.
• 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. effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way. • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. • If you are sick with r
ay from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick.
• If you are sick and sharing a common space with other household members in
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