H1N1 – What we all need to know


It is very important for us to arm ourselves with all the information on H1N1 to protect ourselves and our families.  The following information is extracted from various sources published on the Internet, all found in this one location now.  I trust that you will find it helpful.

Meanwhile, douse yourselves and loved ones with the vitamins needed to boost your immunity system.  Protect yourselves from contracting flu.  Wear a mask if you think you have the flu.  Stay away from others.  Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you have the flu then touch others.  If you know someone who may have the flu, stay away from them, at least 1m away.

Let’s all be vigilant to watch all the symptoms and go to the hospital immediately if you detect any of the telling signs.

Take best care of yourselves.  God bless!

_______________________________

Source: Tracker (read here)

H1N1 (swine flu) symptoms

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

It is important that you learn the symptoms of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus so you can easily recognize it in yourself and others.

To date, the vast majority of H1N1 (swine flu) cases have been mild, with symptoms similar to those of the seasonal flu. Only a small percentage of people have had more serious symptoms and required professional medical attention.

It is important to have a working thermometer at home, as an increase in temperature is a key symptom.

The typical symptoms of H1N1 (swine flu) are:

• a sudden fever of 38°C/100.4°F or above, and
• a sudden cough.

Other symptoms of H1N1 (swine flu) may include:

• headache,
• extreme tiredness,
• chills,
• fatigue,
• muscle aches,
• limb or joint pain,
• diarrhea or upset stomach,
• sore throat,
• runny or stuffy nose,
• sneezing, or
• lack of appetite.

Some people with H1N1 (swine flu) have also reported vomiting.

If you or a member of your family has any of the above mentioned symptoms, you may have the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

Cases have been confirmed in all age groups, but children and younger people are much more likely to be affected. To date, few cases have been confirmed in older adults.

The severity of H1N1 (swine flu) symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may sometimes require hospitalization. Like the seasonal flu, H1N1 (swine flu) may worsen existing chronic medical conditions.

In some cases, severe complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure can cause death. Death occurs more often in cases of H1N1 (swine flu) from secondary bacterial infection of the lungs.

If you believe that you may have H1N1 (swine flu), the next step is to determine if you are in a high-risk group or have emergency warning signs.

What to do if I show symptoms of H1N1 (swine flu)?

The question of what to do if you show H1N1 symptoms varies greatly from country to country. In England an online questionnaire determines if you have the flu and issues an antiviral medication prescription number that a ‘Flu Friend’ collects from a local collection point. In other counties the procedure varies from driving to the front of the doctor’s office and honking your horn to contacting officials, who will promptly come to treat you and quarantine your home.

We have developed a list of ‘norms’ from national and international centers for disease control of what to do if you think that you are infected with the H1N1 flu virus.

All of the major health agencies stress that, for the vast majority of people, H1N1 (swine flu) is a mild illness. They say that most people recover by staying in bed, drinking plenty of water and taking over-the-counter flu medication.

This seems to contradict the use of an antiviral drug such as Tamiflu, which can help reduce the symptoms and duration of the infection. It is believed that Tamiflu is most effective if you start the medication within the first 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. If you lay in bed treating H1N1 as a mild illness, two days and the effectiveness of antiviral medication can easily pass.

Some people are at more risk of serious illness if they contract the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. These include persons in high-risk groups and persons with emergency warning signs.

If you or someone you know have H1N1 symptoms AND are in a high-risk group OR show emergency warning signs it is important to contact your personal physician or other medical professional immediately to determine your next steps and if you should start taking antiviral medication. The majority of health agencies seem to suggest that the initial contact with your health official should be via telephone.

H1N1 (swine flu) high-risk groups

If you fall into any of the following high-risk groups, contact your personal physician or other medical professional immediately.

• pregnant women,
• children under the age of five,
• persons aged 65 and older,
• persons who have had drug treatment for asthma within the past three years,
• persons with chronic lung disease,
• persons with chronic heart disease,
• persons with chronic kidney disease,
• persons with chronic liver disease,
• persons with chronic neurological disease (neurological disorders include motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease),
• persons with immunosuppression (whether caused by disease or treatment)
and
• persons with diabetes mellitus.

If you show any of the following emergency warning signs, contact your personal physician or other medical professional immediately.

H1N1 (swine flu) emergency warning signs in children

• fast breathing or trouble breathing,
• bluish or grayish skin color,
• not drinking enough fluids,
• 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
or
• fever with a rash

H1N1 (swine flu) emergency warning signs in adults

• 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

_______________________________

Source: WHO (read here)

What can I do?

Updated 11 June 2009

What can I do to protect myself from catching influenza A(H1N1)?

The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and taking the following measures:

  • avoid touching your mouth and nose;
  • clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching the mouth and nose, or surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
  • avoid close contact with people who might be ill;
  • reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
  • improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
  • practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

What about using a mask? What does WHO recommend?

If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask.

If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and cleanse your hands thoroughly afterwards.

If you are sick and must travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose.

Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the chance of spreading infection.

How do I know if I have influenza A(H1N1)?

You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A(H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A(H1N1).

What should I do if I think I have the illness?

If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:

  • stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
  • rest and take plenty of fluids;
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
  • use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
  • inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people;
  • If possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.

Should I take an antiviral now just in case I catch the new virus?

No. You should only take an antiviral, such as oseltamivir or zanamivir, if your health care provider advises you to do so. Individuals should not buy medicines to prevent or fight this new influenza without a prescription, and they should exercise caution in buying antivirals over the Internet.

What about breastfeeding? Should I stop if I am ill?

No, not unless your health care provider advises it. Studies on other influenza infections show that breastfeeding is most likely protective for babies – it passes on helpful maternal immunities and lowers the risk of respiratory disease. Breastfeeding provides the best overall nutrition for babies and increases their defense factors to fight illness.

When should someone seek medical care?

A person should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or if a fever continues more than three days. For parents with a young child who is ill, seek medical care if a child has fast or labored breathing, continuing fever or convulsions (seizures).

Supportive care at home – resting, drinking plenty of fluids and using a pain reliever for aches – is adequate for recovery in most cases. (A non-aspirin pain reliever should be used by children and young adults because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.)

Should I go to work if I have the flu but am feeling OK?

No. Whether you have influenza A(H1N1) or a seasonal influenza, you should stay home and away from work through the duration of your symptoms. This is a precaution that can protect your work colleagues and others.

Can I travel?

If you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of influenza, you should not travel. If you have any doubts about your health, you should check with your health care provider.

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