What You Can Do to Prevent H1N1

Precautions to Take to Protect Yourself

Prevent the Spread of Swine Flu. Photo: James Gathaney/CDC/PHIL

The H1N1 virus (which is actually a combination of swine, bird and human influenza viruses), became the 21st century's first flu pandemic. It developed the ability to transmit from human to human and spread around the globe, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

What You Can Do About H1N1 

First, arm yourself with accurate information. 

H1N1 Basics

What you need to know about H1N1, including symptoms and treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions About H1N1 2009

The answers to many of your questions about H1N1 flu, from where it's hitting to whether or not your pets will get it.

Don’t Panic – Why You Shouldn’t Fear Swine Flu

Panic and fear are almost never necessary. Find out what you can do instead.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family for a Flu Pandemic

Although seasonal flu vaccines may not protect us against a global flu pandemic completely, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare.

What to Do if You are Exposed or Get Sick

If you have been around someone with flu-like symptoms, pay attention to your symptoms for 10 days after the exposure.

If you have symptoms of H1N1, a fever and any respiratory symptoms, you should go ahead and contact your healthcare provider.

Typically, it's recommended that you wait out any cold or flu type symptoms (unless you are having difficulty breathing). But in the case of potential pandemics, like the 2009 swine flu, it is best to go ahead and get tested so you can start treatment with antiviral medications right away if necessary.

Tips for Preventing or Limiting the Spread of H1N1

There are some basic steps you can and should take to reduce your risk of catching swine flu or limit the spread of any respiratory illness if you are already sick.

  • Wash your hands.
    Washing your hands well and often is the best way to prevent the spread of any disease.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
    If you do need to cough or sneeze, do it into a tissue or your arm or elbow instead of your hands. This will greatly decrease the spread of any virus you may have.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
    Don’t expose yourself to people who are sick, especially those with upper respiratory viruses.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
    If you aren’t around other people, then you can’t spread the virus to them. Stay home as long as you have symptoms. If your kids are sick, keep them home even a day or two after they get better, as they can spread illnesses for longer.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
    Our hands are hotbeds for germs and are the most common way we spread them. If you avoid putting your hands on your face, you decrease your chances of getting viruses and bacteria into your body, which can make you sick.

Sources:

”Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs” Seasonal Flu 06 Oct 06. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 30 April 09.

”Swine Influenza and You.” H1N1 Flu 29 April 09. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 30 April 09.

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