2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) What is the H1N1 flu?According to the CDC novel H1N1 was first detected in the United States in April of This is a new virus that is linked to causing illness in people. Like other influenza type viruses, the H1N1 has the capability of spreading person-to-person worldwide. In June 2009, the World Health Organization reported that a pandemic of novel H1N1 flu was on the move (CDC, 2009).What does the World Health Organization and others mean by H1N1 flu is a now a pandemic. What does pandemic mean?A pandemic means that this particular strain or virus of influenza is one which most people do not have immunity against.Influenza is most often spread person to person. Therefore, when looking from a worldwide perspective spread of the H1N1 could cause serious illness from a global perspective.Is the H1N1 flu the same as the swine flu?Early on, the H1N1 was thought to be the swine flu. The CDC states that early on the H1N1 showed many of the familiar genes found in influenza usually carried in pigs/swine in North America. However, further testing revealed H1N1 as a new type of influenza.
3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) What if I think I have the H1N1 flu?Remember H1N1 can be spread person-to-person!The following is the current guidelines from the CDC:If you live in areas where people have been identified with novel H1N1 flu or become ill with influenza type symptoms (fever, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine). Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Staying home means that you should not leave your home except to seek medical care. This means avoiding activities including work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.
4 Urgent Medical Attention AdultsIn adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:Difficulty breathing or shortness of breathPain or pressure in the chest or abdomenSudden dizzinessConfusionSevere or persistent vomitingFlu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough (CDC, 2009)ChildrenIn children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:Fast breathing or trouble breathingBluish or gray skin colorNot drinking enough fluidsNot waking up or not interactingBeing so irritable that the child does not want to be heldFlu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough (CDC, 2009)
5 Contamination/Cleaning The influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces (counters, door knobs, phones, table tops, etc) and infect a person from 2-8 hours after the virus is deposited on the surface (CDC, 2009).
6 What Can I DO? Hand washing Did I mention hand washing? Plain old soap and water. We will be discussing proper hand washing at the end of this discussion. Influenza virus is destroyed by heat of degrees which our skin cannot tolerate. However, chemicals such as those found in soap if used in proper concentrations and time can be effective in preventing the spread of the virus. So wash those hands!
7 Hand-Washing The CDC (2009) states: When do you wash your hands? Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!Rinse hands well under running waterDry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucetRemember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.When do you wash your hands?Before preparing or eating foodAfter going to the bathroomAfter changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroomBefore and after tending to someone who is sickAfter blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezingAfter handling an animal or animal wasteAfter handling garbageBefore and after treating a cut or wound (CDC, 2009)
8 What else can I do?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, the 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 (CDC, 2009)Seek medical care if you have flu like symptoms and are at risk for complications. Medical conditions that place a person at risk include: diabetes, asthma, chronic pulmonary disease, cardiovascular, hepatic(liver), hematological (blood disease), neurologic (e.g. multiple sclerosis), neuromuscular, or metabolic syndromes, and immunosuppressed conditions (e.g.HIV).
9 Straight Talk from the CDC on Vaccination “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 novel 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” (CDC, 2009)“CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups of the population receive the novel H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available. These key populations 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 novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems”.“We do not expect that there will be a shortage of novel 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 prioritized 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.”
10 Stay InformedStaying informed on current issues and information in regard to the H1N1 flu is essential.Please refer to the following website of the Center for Disease and Prevention in order to stay informed on updates and vital information:Remember panic is not the answer. Avoidance is not the answer. With the H1n1 flu being spread person-to-person, we are all responsible in remaining educated on this issue to help minimize complications that can occur from this illness. Prevention is the key and the door to prevention is education.
11 Thank youInformation gathered for this informed presentation was gathered via the Center for Disease and Prevention website. Center for Disease and Prevention. (2009) H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu). Retrieved August 24, 2009, from Author: Teressa Wexler, RN MSN