Protecting Yourself Against H1N1 Influenza
What is H1N1 flu? H1N1flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs. Cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first confirmed in the United States in the spring of 2009. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments are coordinating the response to this novel flu virus outbreak. Visit www.ready.illinois.gov or www.cdc.gov/h1n1/ for more information.
What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu in people? The symptoms of H1N1flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, and, in some cases people have reported diarrhea and nausea. Like seasonal flu, H1N1flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
There are simply everyday actions you and your family can take to stay healthy.
• If you have a cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or cough or sneeze into
your sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol‐
based hands cleaners also are effective when hand washing facilities are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are spread through such contact.
• Influenza is thought to spread mainly from person‐to‐person through coughing or sneezing of
• If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
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 hands.
What should I do if I get sick? If you become ill with influenza‐like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose and sore throat, and, in some cases, nausea, or diarrhea, you should 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. You should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. 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.)
We will continue to listen for guidance from public health experts as the flu season progresses. In the meantime we wish good health to all of our communities.