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What Is Swine Flu (H1N1)?

 Swine Flu is a respiratory disease caused by Type A influenza viruses.  Like all influenza viruses, flu viruses change constantly.  A new strain of influenza A (H1N1) virus that is a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses has recently been reported that is contagious and spreading from human to human.

What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu in people? 

 The symptoms of H1N1 flu in people are similar to seasonal human flu and include:  Fever, Cough, Sore Throat, Runny Nose, Body Aches, Headaches, Chills and/or Fatigue.  Some people have also reported nausea, diarrhea and vomiting associated with the swine flu. Severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu in people.

What can I do to protect myself from getting the flu?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza:
    • Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough and sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
    • Wash your hands and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
    • Keep areas clean.  Disinfect surfaces within your home to kill germs.  Read labels to make sure that products contain the word "disinfectant" or "sanitizer" to kill germs on surfaces.

What should I do if I get sick?

 If you live in areas where H1N1 influenza have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, you may want to contact your health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms.  Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.