What is novel H1N1 (swine flu)?
Novel H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
How does novel H1N1 virus spread?
Spread of novel H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
What are the signs and symptoms of seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu?
Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. A fever is a temperature that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius when taken with a thermometer. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
People infected with seasonal and novel H1N1 flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1N1 virus.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against novel H1N1 virus. However, a novel H1N1 vaccine is currently in production and may be ready for the public in the fall. As always, a vaccine will be available to protect against seasonal influenza.
|Take these steps everyday 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 are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home 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 a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
For specific information on how to take care of someone who is sick, visit: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_homecare.htm
For more information about flu, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit http://www.flu.gov/.
The following links are provided that will give up-to-date information and current status of the H1N1 flu outbreak.
DHEC also has an information line for questions or concerns on H1N1 flu at 843.953.0095.