GENERAL QUESTIONS

Please check the "H1N1 Info for You" link on the sidebar for specific information based around your group.

What is a pandemic?

What is the Swine Flu?

  • Swine Influenza (Swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs.  People do not normally get swine flu, but this can happen.
  • The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the current Swine Influenza (H1N1) is a combination pig/bird/human strain. It is contagious and human to human spread has occurred.  The spread occurs through droplet or airborne transmission.  The virus is being commonly referred to as the H1N1 flu.

When should I get tested?

  • The CDC is convinced that many people will become ill this fall with an influenza-like illness, whether it is of the seasonal or H1N1 strains.  At this time the treatment for both viruses is the same, so it will not be necessary to test for one or the other.  Anyone presenting with an influenza-like illness will be presumed to have the flu.

What are the symptoms?

  • People infected with the flu typically have fever (often high), cough, body aches, headaches, fatigue and runny or stuffy nose.  Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.  The flu may cause worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. 

What should I do if I have the symptoms of the flu?

  • As of August 5, 2009, the CDC recommends that for the general public, an individual with the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicine). A fever is defined as having a temperature of 100° Fahrenheit or 37.8° Celsius or greater.
  • If you are sick, stay home.  Do not go to work or school, and avoid any public gatherings.

When should I see a doctor?

  • Most individuals will not need to seek medical attention for the flu.  If you experience flu symptoms and have an underlying, chronic medical condition, you should consult with your physician.  If you have difficulty keeping fluids down for 24 hours, or if you have a fever of 100° Fahrenheit or 37.8° Celsius or higher which cannot be reduced with medication, then you should consult with your physician.
  • In addition, a person should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or if a fever continues more than three days. For parents with a young child who is ill, seek medical care if a child has fast or labored breathing, continuing fever or convulsions (seizures).

Should I take medication?

  • Medications are available to treat flu symptoms.  These medications should be started in the first 2 days of being ill to be most effective. 

What about returning to work?

  • The CDC recommends that for the general public, an individual with the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).

What if I have been exposed to someone with the flu?

  • Being exposed is not a guarantee that you will get the virus. If symptoms appear, stay home.

Do I need to wear a mask?

  • The general public does not need to wear a mask.  The exceptions would be an individual with the flu, actively sneezing or coughing who has to into a public area, or an individual providing direct patient care to a patient with the flu who is actively sneezing or coughing.

Do I need to be vaccinated?

  • There will be two different vaccines available this season, seasonal and H1N1.  It is highly recommended that individuals receive both.
  • Seasonal vaccine should be available by the end of August, 2009.  It is recommended that individuals get vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • The H1N1 vaccine may not be available until October, 2009 or even later.  Initial doses may be prioritized to first responders, health care workers and those at greater risk for infection.
  • It is likely that individuals will need to get two separate H1N1 vaccinations, 21 days apart.  This means that each individual will need 3 separate shots.  Children under the age of 9 who have not had a prior seasonal flu shot will also need a seasonal booster for a total of 4 shots.

How can I protect myself and my family?

  • Washing your hands.  Use soap and water by first wetting your hands with lukewarm water, adding soap, lathering and rubbing hands together for at least 15 seconds, rinsing with lukewarm water, and completely drying hands with paper towels.
  • Alcohol based hand cleaners are also effective for hand sanitizing.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the used tissue in an appropriate trash receptacle, and then wash your hands.
  • If you do not have a tissue available, cover your sneeze or cough with the crook of your arm.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are easily spread that way.

Where can I get more information?

New Mexico Department Of Health Influenza numbers:
Public/Patients: 1-866-850-5893
Providers: 1-866-850-5894

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Websites:

 

PandemicFlu.gov: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/
Wikipedia 2009 Swine Flu (updated): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_flu
World map of Cases: upload.wikimedia.org/H1N1_map.svg
North American map of Cases: en.wikipedia.orgFile:H1N1_North_America_Map.svg
HealthMap: http://healthmap.org/en 
CDC Twitter: http://twitter.com/CDCemergency
CNN Updates: http://www.cnn.com/swine.flu.questions.answers

H1N1 Live Map

This map provides information about H1N1 cases at colleges and universities in the U.S. and the precautions they are taking as well.
View Higher Education H1N1 Collaboration Map - January 2010 in a larger map