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H1N1 Fact Sheet

H1N1 Virus Cells_LWhat is H1N1 Influenza
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. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person to person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

Symptoms and Associated Infections
H1N1 flu virus infection can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Severe disease with pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death is possible with H1N1 flu infection. Sometimes bacterial infections may occur at the same time as or after infection with influenza viruses and lead to pneumonias, ear infections, or sinus infections.

How Influenza Spreads
The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

Who is at Risk?
Although there is still much that remains unknown about H1N1 influenza, it appears that this strain may be more prevalent and/or severe in different groups of people than seasonal influenza.  Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that pregnant women, individuals birth to 24 years old, and people 24 to 64 years old with chronic health conditions may have increased risk for severe illness and complications associated with H1N1 influenza.  However, it is important to know that everyone is at risk for contracting the H1N1 influenza virus and should take steps to protect themselves and others.  
  
Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community
  • Stay informed. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.  If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home until you have been free of a fever or signs of a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, except to seek medical care or for other necessities. 
    (Learn more about how to take care of someone who is ill in "How to Care for a Sick Person in your Home")

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds, and other social distancing measures.

If you don’t have one yet, consider creating a “Stay Home Kit”

For further information, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu or the Ohio Department of Health at www.odh.ohio.gov.  You may also contact us here at the Pike County General Health District at (740)947-7721 for local information.  For a printable version of this information as well as instructions for a "Stay Home Kit", please click on the "H1N1 Influenza Fact Sheet" link below.
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