What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu
and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some
people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe
illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu
infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying
chronic medical conditions.
How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same
way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person
through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become
infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or
How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop
and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass
on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty
of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat
nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or
prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are
prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu
viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your
illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu
complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick
(within 2 days of symptoms).
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious
as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset.
Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs
and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an
infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches
respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their
own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like
cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the
chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday
actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like
influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
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. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
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, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water.
or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. we recommend that when you wash your hands
-- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water
are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You
can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the
gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your
What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with
influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or
vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if
you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether
influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
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