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Swine Flu / H1N1
 
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 Influenza Self Assesment
 What Is The Swine Flu / H1N1?
 Treatment
 Emergency Warning Signs - When To See A Doctor:
 
 H1N1 – Information Summarized

Although the name 'swine flu' brings up a lot of extra fear and worry, it is important to note that
swine flu is just an influenza A - H1N1 virus.

That means that it is just another type of flu virus, just like the one that causes our typical
seasonal flu symptoms. The big difference is that the current swine influenza A (H1N1) virus
new and most of us don't have any immunity to it. That is what made it so easy for it to become
a pandemic virus (have the ability to cause a global outbreak), because it could easily spread
from person-to-person.

    • It doesn’t sweep through and “kill” everyone, nor is it a threat to kill everyone.
    • It affects those who already have a compromised immune system, or those whose
      immune systems are not as strong as they can be. ie; children & pregnant women.
    • When adults die from the flu, it is usually because it has turned into pneumonia.  
    • The flu virus can last 2-8 hrs after being “deposited” on a surface.
    • Closing schools will not and has not helped in preventing the virus from spreading. 
      The practice has slowed because the outbreak, nor infection was as severe as initially thought.

 What is H1N1 or the Swine Flu?

2009 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 Is It Transmitted?

Spread of 2009 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.

 Am I At Risk & At Risk Populations

  • Those with underlying medical conditions
  • A body mass index of >35 (very obese) (Public Health)
  • Children under age of 5
  • Persons over age 65
  • Those who receive aspirin therapy under the age of 18
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities.

 How Do I Prevent It?

  • Wash Hands Frequently
  • Soap/water or alcohol based cleaner
  • Cover mouth & nose with tissues or arm when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid close contact with those who show symptoms of Influenza
  • If you become ill with influenza like symptoms – stay home from work or school

 Treatment
  • Prompt treatment is best
  • However starting treatment after 48hrs+ is still beneficial and recommended
  • For those not infected: Face masks are generally not recommended for community or
    home settings, unless the person is at high risk of severe illness from coming in contact
    with the influenza virus. (lowered immune system)Facemasks do not seal tightly to the
    face and are generally used to block large droplets from coming into contact with wearer’s
    mouth or nose
  • For those infected: facemask is preferred or use a tissue to cover cough & sneeze
  • Medicines. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or
    prevention of infection with 2009 H1N1 flu virus. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines
    (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) 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. During
    the current pandemic, the priority use for influenza antiviral drugs is to treat severe
    influenza illness (for example hospitalized patients) and people who are sick who have
    a condition that places them at high risk for serious flu-related complications.
 
 
 Is There A Vaccine?
From The CDC:

What are the plans for developing 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

Vaccines are the most powerful public health tool for control of influenza, and the U.S.
government is working closely with manufacturers to take steps in the process to
manufacture a 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Working together with scientists in the public
and private sector, CDC has isolated the new H1N1 virus and modified the virus so
that it can be used to make hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine. Vaccine
manufacturers are now using these materials to begin vaccine production. Making
vaccine is a multi-step process which takes several months to complete.  Candidate
vaccines will be tested in clinical trials over the few months. 

When is it expected that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be available?

The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in the fall. More specific dates
cannot be provided at this time as vaccine availability depends on several factors
including manufacturing time and time needed to conduct clinical trials

Will the seasonal flu vaccine also protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu?

The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu.

Can the seasonal vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be given at the same time?

It is anticipated that seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 vaccines may be administered on
the same day. However, we expect the seasonal vaccine to be available earlier than
the H1N1 vaccine. The usual seasonal influenza viruses are still expected to cause
illness this fall and winter. Individuals are encouraged to get their seasonal flu vaccine
as soon as it is available.

Who will be recommended to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that
certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes
available. These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care
for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services
personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages
of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic
health disorders or compromised immune systems.

We do not expect that there will be a shortage of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, but availability
and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine
will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that
the following groups receive the vaccine before others: pregnant women, people who
live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency
medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years
of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level.
The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these target
groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating
everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection
among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore,
as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met,
programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.

Do those that have been previously vaccinated against the 1976 swine influenza need to get vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 influenza?

The 1976 swine flu virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus are different enough that its unlikely a
person vaccinated in 1976 will have full protection from the 2009 H1N1. People vaccinated
in 1976 should still be given the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

Where will the vaccine be available?

Every state is developing a vaccine delivery plan. Vaccine will be available in a combination
of settings such as vaccination clinics organized by local health departments, healthcare
provider offices, schools, and other private settings, such as pharmacies and workplaces.
For more information, see State/Jurisdiction Contact Information for Health Care Providers
Interested in Providing H1N1 Vaccine
.

 Emergency Warning Signs - When To Go To The Doctor

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough


In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
 


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