How to keep from getting the H1N1 influenza virus strain

H1N1 Virus strain seen under an electron microscope
H1N1 Virus strain seen under an electron microscope

Introduction to H1N1

Everyone is probably aware of the H1N1 influenza virus by now for sure. If you haven't heard of it, you may have been under a rock since the spring of 2009 when the first cases of H1N1 were discovered. H1N1 has been in the news and all over the internet with different warnings and scares. However, the H1N1 virus is rarely fatal. Most fatalities occur from complications during the infection of the H1N1 virus. This mainly includes bacterial pneumonia.

So how is H1N1 spread? H1N1 is spread via airborne particles when a person coughs or sneezes and by touching contaminated surfaces. That being said, H1N1 does not float continuously through the air looking for someone to infect. People in the immediate vicinity of someone coughing or sneezing are the ones who are in danger of becoming infected.

A really good read to get more in depth on H1N1 is http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/general_info.htm.

How to keep from getting H1N1

While you are never fully capable of never becoming infected with H1N1, there are some steps you can follow to drastically reduce your chances of contracting the virus.

  • Keep your distance from people coughing and sneezing
  • Use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Do not touch your face
  • Try not to eat out at restaurants during flu season
  • Avoid excessive travel on airplanes, buses, etc...
  • Educate yourself on the virus strain
  • Sanitize surfaces in your home

Did you get H1N1?

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Symptoms of H1N1 influenza

The symptoms of H1N1 pretty much include all the symptoms for your usual influenza infection.

  • Tired and weakness
  • Fever and chills
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Cough and runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

There are also more serious symptoms associated with H1N1 that you should keep a close eye out for. These are much more serious and you should seek medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms should occur.

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In children, below are the serious symptoms you should look for.

  • Fast breathing or working hard to breathe
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
  • Being unable to eat
  • Having no tears when crying

Treating H1N1 influenza infection

I will not be giving any medical advice on this matter, as it can be serious and people should not try to take matters into their own hands on such a powerful virus such as H1N1. To make it plain, go see your doctor. They have a full arsenal of information and prescriptions to help you overcome infection.

Until you can make it to your doctor, make sure you drink lots of water and try not to over exert yourself. Try to stay away from others as to not infect others and spread the virus. Infecting others just makes everything worse. Stay home from work, no matter what your job entails. Get plenty of rest and keep a lookout for other symptoms of complications such as bacterial pneumonia.

Stay healthy!

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