What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1 flu (swine flu). There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- 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.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What do I do if I get sick?
It is very important that you stay home to prevent spreading infection unless you need medical attention. Mild infections usually do not require medical attention. Typical care may include acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever, drinking enough liquids to prevent dehydration, and getting adequate bed rest. If symptoms persist or worsen, or if you have underlying medical conditions, contact your personal physician or regular health care provider. Indications of more serious illness that might need immediate medical care include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe vomiting
- Excessive drowsiness
- Fever over 100 degrees, especially in young children, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions
- Signs of dehydration in children include being unable to take adequate amounts of fluids, crying without tears, and urinating less often than normal.
For more information about novel H1N1 flu: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.