Pandemic (H1N1) Influenza

Pandemic H1N1 flu (originally called swine flu) is a respiratory infection. The pandemic H1N1 flu has spread to humans and has reached the level of a pandemic. A pandemic is a worldwide outbreak. The pandemic H1N1 flu can cause mild-to-severe symptoms. If you think that you have this virus, call your doctor (or do as advised by local public health officials).

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    See also:

    • Avian Flu
    • Seasonal Flu

  • Causes

    There are two main types of influenza virus—type A and type B. This strain passes from human to human, so it may spread rapidly.


    The pandemic H1N1 flu spreads in the same way as the
    seasonal flu:

    • By breathing in droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes
    • By touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth (The virus can survive on surfaces and infect a person for 2-8 hours after being exposed to the surface.)
    Pandemic H1N1 Virus
    3DC00001 105433 1 H1N1
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Definition


    Pandemic H1N1 flu (originally called
    swine flu) is a respiratory infection. The pandemic H1N1 flu has spread to humans and has reached the level of a pandemic. A pandemic is a worldwide outbreak.

    The pandemic H1N1 flu can cause mild-to-severe symptoms. If you think that you have this virus, call your doctor (or do as advised by local public health officials).

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. Diagnosis of the flu is usually based on symptoms.

    In some cases, your doctor may take samples from your nose or throat to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Prevention

  • Risk Factors

    The main risk factor for getting the pandemic H1N1 flu is contact with an infected person. Having a chronic health condition (such as, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, cancer) may increase your risk of a more severe form of the infection. Also, people with physical or mental disabilities may be more at risk because they may not be able to easily communicate their symptoms or may have trouble practicing preventive measures against the pandemic H1N1 flu.

    People younger than 25 years old are more likely to be affected by the virus. The pandemic H1N1 flu is more likely to affect younger people than the elderly because older people may have developed immunity against the virus.


    Eating pork or pork products and drinking tap water are
    not
    risk factors for getting the pandemic H1N1 flu.


    Factors that increase your risk of developing complications from the pandemic H1N1 flu:

    • Age: younger than two years and 65 years or older
    • People younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin
    • Being pregnant
    • Having recently given birth (in the last two weeks)
    • Diabetes

    • Weakened immune systems, such as in:


      • People infected with
        HIV
      • People taking immunosuppressive drugs
    • Disorders that may affect breathing
    • Chronic lung, heart, kidney, liver, nerve, or blood conditions
    • Being in a chronic care facility
    • Obesity
      (based on early reports)

  • Symptoms


    The following symptoms may be due to pandemic H1N1 flu. They may also be due to other conditions.

    • Fever and chills
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Severe muscle aches
    • Severe fatigue
    • Headache
    • Runny nose, nasal congestion
    • Sneezing
    • Watery eyes

    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as, nausea,
      diarrhea, vomiting)


    Call your doctor (or do what is advised by local public health officials) if both of the following apply to you:


    • You have a fever of 100°F (37.8°C) or higher and any of the following:

      • Stuffy nose (makes it hard for you to breathe through your nose)
      • Runny nose (you are wiping your nose often)
      • Cough
      • Sore throat

    • You have been exposed to the pandemic H1N1 flu by:

      • Being within six feet of someone known or suspected to have the pandemic H1N1 flu
      • Living or having traveled to a place where there have been confirmed cases of the pandemic H1N1 flu


    See your doctor if you notice your symptoms worsening
    or
    you do not begin to feel better three days after your symptoms first appear.


    If the pandemic H1N1 flu becomes severe, it can cause
    pneumonia. Deaths have occurred, but this has been rare. The pandemic H1N1 flu can also worsen medical conditions you may already have.


    Seek urgent medical care if you have emergency warning signs.


    • Emergency warning signs in adults include:

      • Fever of 100ºF (37.8°C) or higher for more than three days
      • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
      • Bloody or colored sputum
      • Pain or pressure in chest or belly
      • Sudden dizziness
      • Confusion
      • Severe vomiting or vomiting that does not stop
      • Flu-like symptoms get better then come back with fever and worse cough

    • Emergency warning signs in children include:

      • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
      • Blue or gray skin color
      • Not drinking enough fluids
      • Severe vomiting or vomiting that does not stop
      • Difficulty waking up
      • Being too irritable to be held
      • Little or no desire to play or interact
      • Lack of alertness
      • Flu-like symptoms get better then come back with fever and worse cough
      • Fever with a rash

  • Treatment


    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Be sure to follow your
    doctor's instructions.

    Do not use products sold on the Internet claiming to treat the pandemic H1N1 flu. Talk to your doctor before using such products.