Recently a new type of flu was brought to our attention,
with new dangers to our health. It is very important to learn what
is the swine flu so that we can recognize its causes, symptoms, and
how it can be passed from one person to another, so we can act soon
or even avoid getting ill.
What is H1N1 Flu?
• H1N1 flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia, plus avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a “quadruple reassortant” virus.
• H1N1 flu is contagious. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. The virus is spreading from person-to-person, in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
• H1N1 flu is NOT caused by eating pork or pork products. H1N1 flu is not a foodborne disease, it is a respiratory disease. The USDA continues to remind consumers that all meat and poultry products are safe to eat when properly prepared and cooked.
• Illness with the new H1N1 flu virus has ranged from mild to severe. While the vast majority of people who have contracted H1N1 flu have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.
• About 70% of people who have been hospitalized with H1N1 flu have had one or more medical conditions that placed them in the “high risk” category for serious seasonal flu-related complications. These include pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.
• Seniors, or adults over 65 years of age are prioritized for antiviral treatment to limit risk of complication if they get flu. While your age means you have a lower risk of getting the flu, certain risk conditions (COPD, diabetes, etc.) mean if you get sick, you may have higher risk of complications from any influenza.
Symptoms of H1N1 Flu
• The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to seasonal flu, but may include additional symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
• Symptoms of Seasonal Flu:
o Coughing and/or sore throat
o Runny or stuffy nose
o Headaches and/or body aches
• Symptoms of H1N1 Flu:
o Similar to seasonal flu, but symptoms may be more severe.
o There may be additional symptoms. A significant number of H1N1 flu cases include vomiting and diarrhea.
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