- What is swine flu?
- Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease
of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen
regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections
can and do happen. Most commonly, human cases of swine flu happen in people
who are around pigs but it's possible for swine flu viruses to spread from
person to person also.
- What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
- The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the
symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body
aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea
and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia
and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection
in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying
chronic medical conditions.
- How serious is swine flu infection?
- Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity
from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of
swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However,
swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy
32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia
after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu
outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than
200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death.
- What should I do if I get sick?
- If you live in areas that have reported cases and become
ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose,
sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their
health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms.
Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment
- If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact
with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness
- If you become ill and experience any of the following
warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
- In children emergency warning signs that need urgent
medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever
and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
- There is no vaccine available right now to protect against
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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you
stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from
- What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
- First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay
in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage
your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch
surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact
with people who are sick.
- What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus
through coughing or sneezing?
- If you are sick, limit your contact with other people
as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth
and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those
around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your
hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
- What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid
getting the flu?
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
Wash with soap and water. or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. we
recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water --
that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available,
alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You
can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your
hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol
in it kills the germs on your hands.