What is H1N1 Swine Flu?

Swine Flu
Swine Flu

What is H1N1 Swine Flu?

  1. The H1N1 (Swine Flu) is a new type of flu that has spread widely throughout the world as well as every state in our country. this flu is similar to the seasonal flu that occurs every year. Most people who have become ill have recovered without medical treatment just like seasonal flu, however, H1N1 can lead to pneumonia, and in some cases, death. The new virus spreads more easily than seasonal flu, especially among those who are younger.
  2. Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates among pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate in swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks among swine herds occur during the late fall and winter months similar to humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

Swine Flu Symptoms

Swine Flu Symptoms:

The symptoms of H1N1 are similar to the symptoms of regular flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also experienced diarrhea and vomiting.
Like seasonal flu, H1N1 may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. Most deaths have been in people with underlying medical conditions.
Seek emergency medical care if you become ill and the following warning signs:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting.

In children, emergency warning sings 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 held.
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return.

with fever and worse cough

  • Fever with a rash.

H1N1 Swine Flu Basics:

H1N1 flu (referred to as “swine flu”) is a new influenza virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person the same way that regular seasonal flu viruses spread. People who are infected can spread the virus when they cough or sneeze. Sometimes, people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.

How serious is swine flu?

Most people, swine flu is mild. It comes on quickly and generally lasts for around a week. It causes fever, tiredness, cough and sore throat. Other symptoms can include a headache, aching muscles, chills, sneezing, a runny nose, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Some people are more likely to be seriously ill with swine flu. These can include people who have long-term health conditions, who are pregnant or whose immune system is affected by a disease or treatment for a disease. They may need to go to hospital and, in the very worst cases, some may die.
This is why it is important to have a vaccine to prevent people from catching swine flu.

How does H1N1 virus spread?

Spread of H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with flu. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something such as a surface or object with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What can I do to protect myself, my family and others from getting sick?

H1N1 vaccines are now available through your health care providers’ office. People can contact their health care providers for vaccination schedules and information. It is also important to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. In addition, one should practice the following prevention steps to avoid contracting or spreading the H1N1 virus:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  5. Stay home if you are sick. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

If you or a family member experience any of the following warning signs, seek immediate medical care.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  1. Fast breathing or trouble breathing.
  2. Bluish or gray skin color.
  3. Not drinking enough fluids.
  4. Severe or persistent vomiting.
  5. Not waking up or not interacting.
  6. Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held.
  7. Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  2. Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
  3. Sudden dizziness.
  4. Confusion.
  5. Severe or persistent vomiting.
  6. Flu like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

Take these steps everyday to protect yourself:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol based hand cleaners are also effective.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.Germs spread this way.
  4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  5. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting others.

Treatment of H1N1 Swine Flu:

The H1N1 swine flu virus is sensitive to the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza. These antiviral drugs are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms. It's resistant to older flu drugs. Not everyone needs treatment with these anti-flu drugs. Most people who come down with H1N1 swine flu recover fully without antiviral treatment. But the CDC strongly recommends antiviral treatment for people at risk of severe flu complications who come down with flu-like symptoms. Since it's very important to start these drugs soon after symptoms appear, doctors should offer treatment to at-risk patients if they suspect they have the flu. Doctors should not rely on rapid flu tests (they are too unreliable for definitive diagnosis) or wait for results of lab-based tests (because they take too long). Early treatment is so important that the CDC suggests doctors offer a Tamiflu or Relenza prescription to at-risk patients. If these patients develop flu-like symptoms, they would call their doctor, and based on the doctor's clinical judgment, the patient could then simply fill the prescription. Many people who have died of H1N1 swine flu had bacterial co-infections, particularly pneumococcal infections. There's a vaccine against pneumococcal infections. It's routine for children and recommended for adults with underlying health conditions, smokers, or people over age 65. If your flu symptoms get worse after getting better, call your doctor. You may need treatment with antibiotic medications. Is there enough Tamiflu and Relenza to go around? Federal and state stockpiles are large enough to treat at-risk patients with flu symptoms. But there isn't enough to offer treatment to otherwise healthy people who may have the flu. And health officials have asked people not to hoard Tamiflu or Relenza. Tamiflu and Relenza can prevent swine flu, but the CDC urges even at-risk people to try to avoid using the drugs in this way. Not only is supply insufficient for preventive use, but preventive use appears to be a major factor in the few cases of drug-resistant H1N1 swine flu that have appeared. There are situations in which preventive use of Tamiflu or Relenza may be appropriate for an at-risk person who must come into close contact with someone who has the flu. But the CDC suggests that doctors consider a "watchful waiting" approach. In this case, the at-risk person would wait to fill the prescription only if she or he actually developed flu symptoms.

Why is getting vaccinated a good idea?

Getting vaccinated against swine flu will:

  • Help protect you against swine flu.
  • Help protect your family and other people who are close to you – as it is less likely that they will catch the virus from you.
  • Help protect you against future waves of infection caused by the swine flu virus.

Flu Vaccinations for Children:

Vaccinate your child against both types of flu. There are separate vaccines against the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu this year.

Seasonal flu vaccine:


If your child is younger than 9 and is being vaccinated for seasonal flu for the first time in their life, they need to receive two doses. The second dose should be given four weeks after the first dose. If your child is 9 or older, they are protected from seasonal flu with just one dose of seasonal flu vaccine.
Babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get seasonal flu vaccine.

H1N1 flu vaccine:


If your child is 9 years or younger, they will need two doses of the H1N1 vaccine to be protected. The second dose should be given four weeks after the first dose. If your child is 10 or older, they are protected from H1N1 flu with just one dose of the H1N1 flu vaccine.
Experts recommend that those in the priority groups get their H1N1 vaccination as soon as it becomes available. The priority groups are: pregnant women; household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age; healthcare and emergency medical services personnel; all people from 6 months through 24 years of age; and persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from flu.
Babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get H1N1 flu vaccine.

Swine Flu Prevention:

Public health officials advise that people experiencing flu symptoms should not go to school or work and should avoid public places; several cities have shut down schools after isolated cases were detected.
Symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, fatigue, lethargy, lack of appetite, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, sore throat, body aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,
To date, the CDC has not recommended extraordinary precautions such as closing public gathering places, though it has advised against unnecessary travel to Mexico. The agency recommends the following steps to minimize flu transmission; additional measures may be appropriate for people with HIV, as indicated in the interim guidance.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw it in the trash after use.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If possible, avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you feel ill, stay home and avoid school, work, public transit, and other places where people gather.

Questions & Answers about H1N1 Swine Flu

When to Call Your Doctor?

Even if you are being treated for the H1N1 flu, make sure to call your doctor immediately if you develop shortness of breath, difficult or rapid breathing, gray or bluish skin, or have trouble drinking enough fluids.

Are there medicines to treat H1N1 Swine flu?

Yes. CDC recommends the use of the antiviral medications oseltamivir or zanamivir for these H1N1 influenza viruses. Your doctor will decide if treatment is needed for your case. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

How long can viruses live outside the body?

Some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What are the symptoms of swine flu?

Swine flu has different effects in different people. Some people who catch the virus only have mild symptoms. But others can develop complications and in extreme cases swine flu can cause death.
The symptoms of swine flu are very similar to regular flu symptoms:

  1. fever.
  2. tiredness.
  3. cough.
  4. headache.
  5. muscles and joint pain..
  6. acute abdominal pain.
  7. diarrhea.
  8. vomiting.

What can I do to protect myself, my baby and my family?

Take these everyday steps to prevent the spread of germs, and protect your health:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  2. Sneeze into your sleeve.
  3. Wash your hands often and in warm water.
  4. Avoid touching you eyes, nose or mouth.
  5. Avoid contact with sick people.
  6. Have a plan to care for sick family members.
  7. Stock up on household, health, and emergency supplies like:
  • Water
  • Tylenol
  • Non perishable foods.

How does H1N1 virus spread?

Spread of H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something such as a surface or object with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

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. CDC recommends 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.

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?

People infected with seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1N1 virus.

Will H1N1 (swine flu) vaccinations be mandatory?

No. We encourage people to get the H1N1 vaccine when it is available, but you can decide what is best for you and your family.

Where can I get an H1N1 (swine flu) vaccination?

Many settings will offer H1N1 vaccinations, including doctor’s offices, schools, workplaces, pharmacies, and public health agencies. Check these sources for information about vaccination sites near you, but be aware that supplies are limited at this time and you may need to check again in the coming weeks to find out when it is available:

  1. Your health care provider.
  2. Your local health department (find contact information for local health departments).
  3. A retail pharmacy.
  4. You may also be able to find information in your local newspaper or through television or radio.

Is there any treatment for swine flu?

There is no cure for swine flu but antiviral drugs will relieve the symptoms and help you to recover faster. We don't yet know for certain that the antiviral drugs that are used to treat swine flu are safe to take in pregnancy. Your doctor will only suggest treatment if she feels that the potential benefit justifies the possible risk to your baby.

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. Clean your hands every time you cough or sneeze.

More by this Author


Comments 1 comment

William Tan Seng profile image

William Tan Seng 6 years ago

H1N1 Swine Flu is also happened in my country Singapore. After reading this post, I understand this type of flu better. All the steps to handle the outbreak and its prevention are surely helpful.

Thanks for sharing.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working