Influenza H1N1 Information
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This page was last updated October 9, 2009
The following websites are an excellent source of information concerning Influenza H1N1. Each website has many fact sheets with information on the disease, including how to best keep from catching it, what to do if you do are infected, and how to care for others with this illness.
What is Influenza H1N1?
This is a new strain of influenza A virus type H1N1, a hybrid derived from strains found in swine, birds and humans that appears to be capable of spreading from person to person, like the usual seasonal influenza strains. Symptoms of Influenza H1N1 are pretty similar to the symptoms associated with “normal” flu viruses, including:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Some reports of diarrhea and vomiting
- In older or more frail people a dramatic worsening of chronic illnesses like diabetes, smokers’ lungs, or heart failure
Information about Influenza H1N1 and people living with HIV/AIDS
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines for clinicians treating HIV-positive patients who may have been exposed to or contracted Influenza H1N1. If you are a person living with HIV/AIDS and you think you have been exposed to influenza or are presenting symptoms, you should contact your health care provider so that you can be evaluated and given appropriate treatment.
The usual things we do to keep from catching “normal” flu viruses will also help keep us from getting infected with Influenza H1N1. These include:
- 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 develop the above symptoms, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
The most important thing you can do to help minimize the spread of Influenza H1N1 is to stay home from work or school and to keep contact with others to a minimum if you have any of the above symptoms. If your symptoms are mild, you don’t need to be evaluated by a medical professional and you can just stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and take over the counter cold and flu remedies; if, however, you are experiencing shortness of breath, having trouble eating or drinking, or suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes, heart problems, or HIV, then you should definitely seek medical attention.
At Fenway, we have assembled a team to deal with all of the information coming in about this disease on a daily basis. We’ll post any updates on this website in a timely manner.