How to Prevent Getting H1N1 Flu or Swine Flu
What You Can Do To Prevent Getting Swine Influenza or H1N1 Flu
On June 10, 2009 the World Health Organization finally raised the level of concern about the H1N1 Flu to a level 6. H1N1 Flu has become the first 21st century flu pandemic. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan was quoted as saying "With today's announcement, WHO moves from an emergency to a longer-term response. Based on past experience, this pandemic will be with us for some months, if not years, to come."
Now that the H!N1 flu has become an official global epidemic and claimed many lives, many people are likely to become anxious that they might catch the H1N1 flu otherwise known as the Swine Flu.
The CDC reminds us that the "WHO's decision to raise the pandemic alert level to Phase 6 is a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus."
There are several very simple things one can do to prevent or minimize your chances of getting the swine flu and the regular flu.
These include finding out more about the illness from reliable sources, learning how serious swine flu is, learn what can be done prevent it, discovering what symptoms to watch for and when to seek additional treatment.
Also included is some interesting information about the history of Swine Influenza and Swine Flu as a Zoonosis or an infectious disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
Image Source: CDC. Swine Influenza in Pigs and People. Brochure.
Four Key Steps to Prevent Getting the H1N1 Flu
The four key things to do that will help in preventing you from getting the H1N1 Flu or Swine Flu:
1. Wash Your Hands
2. Cover Your Cough
3. Don't Touch Your Face
4. Stay Away from People Who are Sick
If you do get sick, stay home so you won't pass it on to anyone else.
Source: CDC H1N1 Flu.
Staying Healthy During the H1N1 Season
Keeping Students (and others) Healthy During the H1N1 Season
These recommendations for keeping students healthy during H1N1 outbreak come from my friend, Dr. Jennifer Shu of CNN.com:
1. Follow healthy basic hygiene practices.
Encourage students to wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer frequently and to avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth, where germs can easily enter the body.
2. Keep surfaces clean.
Use a disinfectant to clean commonly shared surfaces at least daily and when visibly soiled.
3. Keep sick students at a distance.
Try spacing desks as far apart as possible to avoid close contact between students. It may also be helpful, especially for individuals at high risk for complications from the flu, to stay at least 6 feet away from sick people.
4. Go home.
Sick students and teachers should go home or stay home if they are too ill to participate in classroom activities. In addition, they should not return until any fever has been gone for at least 24 hours.
5. Follow the latest health recommendations.
H1N1 guidelines may be a moving target since it is still not well known how the virus will affect individuals and communities.
6. Play down perfect attendance.
Some kids (and parents) try so hard for an end-of-the-year perfect attendance award that it can be tempting to go to school even for a few hours to avoid being counted as "absent."
7. Promote home-based learning.
If children feel well enough to study while they're recovering, send some schoolwork home or use an online learning program so they can keep up with lessons.
Source: Dr. Jennifer Shu. CNN.com
Resources to Help Stay Healthy During the H1N1 Season
- How can I keep my students healthy during H1N1 outbreak? - CNN.com
I'm an elementary school teacher and am worried about H1N1 flu. What can I do to try to keep my students and myself healthy?
- How can I keep my family healthy if one of us has H1N1? - CNN.com
My son was found to have H1N1 flu and has to stay home from school. How can we keep the rest of the family from getting sick?
- H1N1: Fighting Swine Flu - Special Report from CNN.com
Resources on the Swine or H1N1 Flu from CNN.com
- CDC H1N1 Flu | Resources for K-12 Schools
Resources for keeping students healthy during the H1N1 season from the CDC Home Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Have Some Fun Learning about the H1N1 Flu
The H1N1 Rap
The H1N1 Rap was written, composed, produced, and performed by John D. Clarke, MD, FAAFP. This music video is a fun, highly educational, and entertaining way to learn about prevention of the H1N1 virus.
2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest
On July 9th of this year, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a video PSA contest on flu prevention. Americans were called to create a 15, 30, or 60 second video promoting good hygienic practices and submit this video over YouTube. This video was to inform people about the flu and motivate them to take steps that help prevent the spread of the flu.
The winner received $2500 in cash and is featured on national television. Congratulations to Dr. John Clarke of Baldwin, New York for his video entitled H1N1 Rap by Dr. Clarke.
- 2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest
2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest information.
Learn about Flu Prevention from Elmo
Elmo Good Habits PSA with Sec Sebelius on YouTube
Secretary Sebelius and Elmo encouraged kids to practice good habits like hand washing to stay healthy and happy.
PSA (Public Service Announcements) from Elmo
A series of public services announcements featuring Elmo aimed at teaching children how to stay happy and healthy this flu season by washing their hands and sneezing into their elbow.
More about Elmo Joins the Public Health Campaign
- Government enlists Elmo of Sesame Street to help teach kids about H1N1 swine flu prevention
The Department of Health and Human Services has enlisted another publicity powerhouse to get the word out about H1N1 vaccination. His name is Elmo.
- A Run-Down on H1N1 Preparation - White House Press Release
As serious as the H1N1 flu is, sometimes the best way to get the word out about a serious issue is to use a little humor. That especially goes for the Sesame Street crowd, so enter Elmo into the latest flu PSA for kids.
- Elmo joins H1N1 flu fight - CNN.com
The federal government is reintroducing a powerful weapon in the fight against the H1N1 flu virus: Elmo.
- 'Sesame Street'-wise: Elmo could teach adults a thing or two - BostonHerald.com
Once you've stopped thousands of 2-year-olds from picking their noses, the sky's the limit, career-wise. Elmo, the furry red creature from "Sesame Street" and toy shelves everywhere is the star of four public service announcements this fall.
- The Mommy Files : Elmo helps fight swine flu
If you can't get your kids to wash their hands through this doozy of a flu season, then Elmo will. The red furry Sesame Street puppet appears with his human pal Gordon, played by Roscoe Orman, in a series of public service announcements released toda
- Gesundheit, Elmo: US Teams With Sesame Street to Slow Swine Flu
Three federal agencies are teaming up with the colorful muppets of Sesame Street to teach children and families how to prevent the spread of swine flu this fall, such as by washing their hands, sneezing into the bend in their arms and not touching th
- White House Enlists Elmo in Anti-Flu Campaign
Federal health officials are turning to a high-pitched but authoritative voice with the younger set in the effort to slow the spread of the H1N1 flu virus.
- 'Sesame Street' Frequently Tapped for Gov't. Outreach
The cast of "Sesame Street" has frequently partnered with the federal government for various causes. The federal government has once again recruited the fuzzy residents of Sesame Street for a series of public service announcements, this time asking E
Recommendations for the H1N1 Vaccine
Recommended Groups to Receive the H1N1 Vaccine for Novel Influenza A
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met today to make recommendations for use of vaccine against novel influenza A (H1N1).
The committee recommended the vaccination efforts focus on five key populations. The key populations include those who are at higher risk of disease or complications, those who are likely to come in contact with novel H1N1, and those who could infect young infants.
The total number of people in the United States that make up these groups is approximately 159 million people.
When vaccine is first available, the committee recommended that programs and providers try to vaccinate the groups listed below.
Source: CDC. July 29, 2009. CDC Advisers Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1.
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
- Health care and emergency services personnel,
- Persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age, and
- People from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
H1N1 Vaccine Priorities - Video
A CDC control advisory committee made it clear who should be first in line to receive the H1N1 vaccine, including pregnant women and child care providers. Dr. Jennifer Ashton reports.
CDC's Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against H1N1
- CDC Advisors Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1
CDC Advisors Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1 in this CDC Newsroom Press release from July 29, 2009.
Who Should Get the H1N1 Vaccine?
When vaccine is first available, the CDC recommends that the following groups be vaccinated:
* Pregnant women
* People who live with or care for children < 6 months
* Health care and emergency services personnel
* Persons between the ages of 6 months - 24 years of age
* People from ages 25 - 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Source: CDC. July 29, 2009. CDC Advisors Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1.
Special Considerations for Pregnant Women
It is known that that pregnant women are more likely to get sick than others and have more serious problems with seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu because of their lowered immune systems with the pregnancy. Because of this the CDC is recommending that pregnant women be the first group immunized against the H1N1 virus.
The CDC is recommending that pregnant women who will likely be in direct contact with patients with confirmed, probable, or suspected influenza A (H1N1) (e.g., a nurse, physician, or respiratory therapist caring for hospitalized patients), should consider reassignment to lower-risk activities, such as telephone triage.
If reassignment is not possible, pregnant women should avoid participating in procedures that may generate increased small-particle aerosols of respiratory secretions in patients with known or suspected influenza.
- CDC H1N1 Flu | Pregnancy Guidance Info for Women in Education, Child Care, Healthcare
This information is for pregnant women who work in jobs where they are more likely to be exposed to people with confirmed, probable, or suspected novel H1N1 virus infection.
- CDC H1N1 Flu | What Pregnant Women Should Know About H1N1 (formally called swine flu) Virus
Information from the CDC for Pregnant Women about what they can do to prevent getting the H1N1, novel influenza virus.
- OSHA Pandemic Health Guidelines
All health care workers in direct patient care, including pregnant women, should follow standard precautions with all patients, regardless of infection status.
- CDC H1N1 Flu | Interim Guidance on Antiviral Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed or Suspecte
Information and interim guidance on the use of antiviral agents for treatment and chemoprophylaxis of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. This includes patients with confirmed, probable or suspected swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and
The H1N1 Flu is officially the
first 21st century flu pandemic.
WHO Declares Influenza A(H1N1) Pandemic
The official video announcement from the WHO.
Dr Margaret Chan speaks to the media at the agency's headquarters in Geneva, on the 11th of June 2009. On the basis of available evidence and expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. The Director-General of WHO has therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6. "The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic," she said at a press conference today.
H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Declared a Level 6
The World Health Organization declared a swine flu pandemic Thursday June 10, 2009 as infections in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere climbed to nearly 30,000 cases.
More about the First 21st Century Pandemic
- WHO declares first 21st century flu pandemic
The World Health Organization declared an influenza pandemic on Thursday and advised governments to prepare for a long-term battle against an unstoppable new flu virus.
- Swine flu pandemic declared by World Health Organization - Los Angeles Times
The World Health Organization this morning acknowledged what many health experts have been saying for weeks: The outbreak of novel H1N1 virus is now a pandemic.
- We're Living in a Pandemic: Now What Do We Do? - On Parenting (usnews.com)
We're now officially in the world's first flu pandemic of the 21st century and the first in 41 years. Strangely, a pandemic doesn't feel much different from ordinary life. But that's no surprise to the flu specialists. The United States and the rest
- What a Pandemic Means in U.S.: Keep Doing What We're Doing
The CDC says U.S. efforts to prevent and treat H1N1 flu won't change despite WHO's higher global flu alert.
- CDC H1N1 Flu | Statements by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on W
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued the following statements today in response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) decision to raise
- WHO | Influenza A(H1N1)
Flu pandemic alert raised to phase 6 ... World is better prepared for influenza pandemic 8 May 2008 ... Use of antiviral drugs against influenza A(H1N1) ...
- What The H1N1 Pandemic Means - Forbes.com
The swine flu is now an official pandemic, but that doesn't mean you should panic.
Hand Washing is the single most important means of preventing
the spread of infection.
What is H1N1 Flu, Swine Flu, Swine Influenza?
According to the CDC, H1N1 (swine flu) is a type of influenza or flu virus (type A influenza) that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in people. This new strain can spread between people.
Most people infected with this virus in the United States have had mild disease, but some have had more severe illness, and there has been at least one death.
Young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease may be at higher risk for complications from this infection.
The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.
Image: C. S. Goldsmith and A. Balish, CDC. Swine Flu Virus. Public Domain.
H1N1 Flu = Swine Flu
Severity of H1N1 May Not Be as Much as Feared
I know that in every state, it's really easy to focus on the numbers, but I think right now, the numbers don't tell us as much as the trends.
Our assessment is that transmission here in the US is ongoing, that this is a very transmissible virus, similar to the seasonal influenza viruses.
Fortunately, the severity of illness that we are seeing at this point doesn't look as terrible as a category five kind of pandemic or the severity of impact that some had feared.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Swine Influenza from the CDC
Dr. Joe Bresee with the CDC Influenza Division describes swine flu - its signs and symptoms, how it's transmitted, medicines to treat it, steps people can take to protect themselves from it, and what people should do if they become ill.
Gripe porcina (Swine Flu) In Spanish from the CDC
En este video, Ana Rivera, Asesor de Salud Publica para los CDC, describe la influenza o gripe porcina: sus signos y síntomas, cómo se transmite, los medicamentos para su tratamiento, las medidas que las personas pueden tomar para protegerse de esta enfermedad y lo que deben hacer las personas si se enferman.
In this video, Ana Rivera, Public Health Advisor for the CDC, described the swine flu, or influenza: signs and symptoms, how it is transmitted, drugs for treatment, measures that people can take to protect themselves from this disease and what to do if people get sick.
Please Don't Panic
Find out how to keep yourself
and your family healthy.
Should I be alarmed about the H1N1 Flu?
In a message sent to all AMA (American Medical Association) Doctors from current President Dr. Nancy Nielson, she urged physicians to be on "alert" rather than "alarm."
- While right now the appropriate stance is "alert" rather than "alarm," let's examine the role of practicing physicians, and our AMA, in this circumstance of a new influenza virus that seems more virulent in young adults and against which we don't have immunity.
- Each of us needs to be vigilant when seeing patients with acute respiratory symptoms
- . Although the clinical illness caused by this swine flu virus has been mild in the U.S., it has not been mild in Mexico, as you know from news reports. In case you are confronted with a patient with possible influenza (recognizing that the "usual" seasonal influenza season is over), here are some important considerations.
- Take a travel history from anyone with significant acute respiratory illness. Take appropriate precautions yourself, wearing an N95 respirator or a surgical mask/gown/gloves. Do a nasopharyngeal swab, put it in viral transport media and send to the appropriate clinical lab at your hospital. Dispose of gown, gloves and goggles in a biohazard bag.
- Pay strict attention to hand washing with soap/water or hand sanitizer
- Note that public health budgets are stretched, so
- don't do swabs for viral isolation on folks who seem to have the common cold!
What are good reliable sources of information?
In the midst of an outbreak such as this it is important to turn to reputable sources of information for updates. Agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PandemicFlu.gov, MedlinePlus and the World Health Organization and Organizations like the American Medical Association and reputable news agencies are good choices.
- CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WHO - World Health Organization
- American Medical Association
- MedlinePlus - From the National Institutes of Health and Department of Health & Human Services
- Reputable News Agencies - CNN Health, MSNBC Health, WebMD.
Reputable Resources for Information on the Swine Flu
With so much news coverage about the Swine Flu in the midst of an outbreak such as this it is important to turn to reputable sources of information for updates.
- CDC H1N1 Flu
Updated information about the H1N1 Flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes a list of the U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
- CDC - Influenza (Flu) | Swine Influenza (Flu)
The outbreak of disease in people caused by a new influenza virus of swine origin continues to grow in the United States and internationally.
- WHO | Swine influenza
Updates on the Swine influenza from the World Health Organization.
- AMA - Swine Flu
Information for patients and physicians on human cases of swine flu influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.
One-stop access to U.S. Government avian and pandemic flu information.
- MedlinePlus: Swine Flu
Swine flu is a type of virus. It's named for a virus that pigs can get. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human.
- H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) - California Deparment of Public Health
H1N1 (swine flu) is a type of influenza (flu) virus that causes respiratory disease that can spread between people. Most people infected with this virus in the United States have had mild disease, but some have had more severe illness.
Updates on the Swine Flu from the CDC
Information about the H1N1 flu from the latest issue of MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) released early to update people about the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections (formerly swine flu).
- Since mid-April 2009, CDC, state and local health authorities in the United States, the World Health Organization (WHO), and health ministries in several countries have been responding to an outbreak of influenza caused by a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus.
- In March and early April 2009, Mexico experienced outbreaks of respiratory illness subsequently confirmed by CDC and Canada to be caused by the novel virus. The influenza strain identified in U.S. patients was genetically similar to viruses isolated from patients in Mexico.
- Since recognition of the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus in Mexico and the United States, as of May 6, a total of 21 additional countries had reported cases, with a total of 1,882 confirmed cases worldwide
- Early surveillance data from this outbreak suggest that the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus has the potential for efficient, rapid spread among countries. Although the illness associated with infection generally seems self-limited and uncomplicated, a substantial number of cases of severe disease and death has been reported in previously healthy young adults and children.
- Several characteristics of this outbreak appear unusual compared with a typical influenza seasonal outbreak.
- First, the percentage of patients requiring hospitalization appears to be higher than would be expected during a typical influenza season.
- Second, the age distribution of hospitalizations for novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is different than that of hospitalizations for seasonal influenza, which typically occur among children aged < 2 years, adults aged > 65 years, and persons with chronic health conditions. In Mexico and the United States, the percentage of patients requiring hospitalization has been particularly high among persons aged 30--44 years.
- The novel influenza A (H1N1) virus has been circulating in North America largely after the peak influenza transmission season. For that reason, the epidemiology and severity of the upcoming influenza season in the southern hemisphere or in the northern hemisphere cannot be predicted.
- The imminent onset of the season for influenza virus transmission in the southern hemisphere, coupled with detection of confirmed cases in several countries in the southern zone, raise concern that spread of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus *might* result in large-scale outbreaks during upcoming months.
MMWR Weekly. Update: Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections --- Worldwide, May 6, 2009. 58(17);453-458
- Update: Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections --- Worldwide, May 6, 2009
Link to the official report.
Swine Influenza (Flu) in Pigs and People - CDC Brochure
One of the best places to get started is by reading this brochure on the Swine Influenza (Flu) in Pigs and People comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In this 2 page pdf file brochure information is provided on:
- Swine Flu Virus Infections in Pigs
- Qs & As about Swine Flu
- What You Can Do
- Flu Can Spread from Pigs to People and from People to Pigs
What are the symptoms of Swine Flu?
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.
It is important to realize that many people who have Swine Flu are better in a couple of days.
The human symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal influenza. The symptoms may include:
- Fever (greater than 100Â°F or 37.8Â°C)
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
- Headache and body aches
- Some people have reported diarrhea.
- Some have reported vomiting.
Symptoms of Swine Flu - From the CDC
Dr. Joe Bresee, with CDC's Influenza Division, describes the symptoms of swine flu and warning signs to look for that indicate the need for urgent medical attention.
Symptoms of Swine Flu
Image Source: Mikael HÃ¤ggstrÃ¶m. Symptoms of Swine Flu. Wikimedia. Public Domain.
How serious is the Swine Flu?
According to the CDC - 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.
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.
The 2009 outbreak has already claimed one death in the United States as of April 29, 2009.
Many people who get Swine Flu are better in a couple of days.
What are the WHO Pandemic Levels?
A Medscape article from April 29, 2009 on Swine Flu One Step Closer to Pandemic reviews the different alert levels used by the WHO's to determine if something is a pandemic:
- Phase 1: A virus in animals has caused no known infections in humans.
- Phase 2: An animal flu virus has caused infection in humans.
- Phase 3: Sporadic cases or small clusters of disease occur in humans. Human-to-human transmission, if any, is insufficient to cause community-level outbreaks.
- Phase 4: The risk for a pandemic is greatly increased but not certain. The disease-causing virus is able to cause community-level outbreaks.
- Phase 5: Still not a pandemic, but spread of disease between humans is occurring in more than one country of one WHO region.
- Phase 6: This is the pandemic level. Community-level outbreaks are in at least one additional country in a different WHO region from phase 5. A global pandemic is under way.
The H1N1 Flu is officially a Level 6.
What can I do to prevent getting Swine Flu?
The CDC reminds us that preventing getting the Swine Flu involves taking some very simple precautions that people would normally take to stay healthy.
Influenza spreads mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people, so you want to minimize coughing and sneezing and minimize contact with infected people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs spread that way.
- When possible avoid close contact with sick people.
Method Brand Hand Soap on Amazon
One of the most effective way to prevent getting a virus is to practice good hand washing and hand hygiene.
The Method brand hand soap cleans your hands safely and effectively without harsh chemicals. The soap is made from naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients, including Vitamin E and aloe that are safe for your skin and the environment.
Hand Sanitizers Available on Amazon
Hand Sanitizers work well if you don't have access to soap and water. You can carry some in your bag or pack and keep some on your desk.
Cover Your Mouth, Cough in a Sleeve
Facial Tissues and Kleenex on Amazon
How does the flu spread? How close can I get to someone with the flu?
The H1N1 influenza virus spreads the same way that seasonal flu spreads--from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.
People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. This means that people can pass on the flu to someone else before knowing they are sick as well as passing on the flu while they are sick.
People are being advised to avoid close contact with sick people and stay at least six feet away from people who are sick.
Why all of the face masks?
One of the images associated with the H1N1 Flu is that of people wearing masks over their faces. It appears that the real value of wearing a mask is to keep those who have the virus from spreading it to others.
People are currently advised to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of the flu and to stay at least 6 feet away.
The CDC has helpful information for those who need to take care of a sick person in the home. If one must have close contact with a sick person like when holding a sick infant, the CDC advises spending the least amount of time possible in close contact and wear a surgical mask or N95 disposable respirator.
Image: CDC. Interim Guidance for H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): Taking Care of a Sick Person in Your Home. Government Website.
More Resources on the H1N1 Flu by Dr. Dyer
More articles on the Swine Flu from the General Medicine and the Parenting Resources sections of Suite 101.
- What Can I Do to Stay Safe from the Swine Flu? Four Key Tips to Help Prevent You from Getting the H1
Everyone is concerned about the latest influenza, also known as the H1N1 Flu or Swine Flu. There are simple things one can do to minimize your chance of getting the flu.
- What Should I Do If I Think I Have the Flu? How to Manage Flu-Like Symptoms of the H1N1 Flu or the R
With the H1N1 Flu or influenza virus surfacing many people are concerned about flu-like symptoms that they may be experiencing, which may or may not be the H1N1 flu.
- What Should I Tell My Child about the Swine Flu? Advice for Parents to Help Children Understand the
Adults are not the only ones that worry when there are headlines in the news. Children worry as well. Find out ways to help you child understand more about the H1N1 Flu.
How do people get the Swine Flu?
Swine flu is an acute respiratory disease of pigs caused by a tiny spheroid virus that belongs to the Influenza A virus group. It is also know as swine influenza, or this variant by the name of the virus H1N1.
Symptoms of swine flu in swine herds include fever, inactivity, nasal discharge, labored breathing, mouth breathing, and paroxysmal coughing when the pigs are moved.
Usually swine flu does not infect people. In the past few human cases that have occurred have been with people who have had direct contact with pigs.
The current swine flu outbreak is different. It has been caused by a new swine flu virus that has spread from person to person, which allows the virus to be transmitted among people who have not had any contact with pigs.
Hitti M. Swine Flu FAQ. WebMD.
SEMP Inc. What is Swine Flu?. Biot Report #162: January 09, 2005
Image: Cynthia Turek. Piggy. Royalty Free Use.
Pigs and People
Image Source: CDC. Swine Influenza in Pigs and People. Brochure.
How Viruses May Be Transmitted By Different Species
Possible mechanisms for the introduction of novel influenza A viruses into the human population including direct transmission of entire bird or swine viruses or transmission of reassortant viruses.
Source: Carolyn Buxton Bridges, MD, Influenza Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia: "Human influenza viruses and the potential for inter-species transmission." Available at: What Is Swine Flu?
What should I do if I get sick?
The CDC recommends if you get sick with the Swine Flu:
- Stay home from work or school.
- Limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
- Watch for concerning symptoms.
In addition you should follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
Image: Modified Microsoft Image.
What should I do if I think it's the flu?
The two things to do if you think it's the flu:
- 1. Take care of yourself (or child).
- 2. Monitor yourself (or child) for worsening of symptoms.
The caregiver will want to make sure that the sick person is drinking enough water and taking food as tolerated.
The CDC advises using anti-pyretic (fever reducing) medications to relieve fever such as acetaminophen or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Any Aspirin or aspirin-containing products (e.g. bismuth subsalicylate - Pepto Bismol) *should not be* administered to any confirmed or suspected ill case of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.
CDC Article on What To Do if You Get Flu-Like Symptoms
- CDC H1N1 Flu | What To Do if You Get Flu-Like Symptoms
Helpful information and resources from the CDC on what to do if you get symptoms of the flu.
When should I get additional treatment?
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 held
- * Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- * Fever with a rash
- * Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- * Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- * Sudden dizziness
- * Confusion
- * Severe or persistent vomiting
Who is at risk for Swine Flu?
It is important to realize that many people who have Swine Flu are better in a couple of days. People with good healthy immune systems should be able to fight off a swine flu infection.
Swine flu may become more of a problem for those who have compromised immune systems, the elderly, children and women who are pregnant; these groups of people are not able to fight off the infection as easily. In addition like the seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions, often seen in the elderly.
Parents and caregivers need to watch those with compromised immune systems, chronic medical conditions, the elderly, children and women who are pregnant.
Image: M Nota. Little girl and grandpa. Royalty Free Use.
How do I talk to my child about the H1N1 Flu (Formerly Swine Flu)?
The CDC is offering parents some useful advice for helping children understand the H1N1 Flu, which is making a lot of headlines in the news.
They caution that "stressful situations often cause children to worry and have many questions as to why it is happening and how it can be fixed."
They also remind parents of the importance of remembering to take care of your health and well-being as well as the health of your children.
Here are some additional helpful suggestions and information from Advice for Parents on Talking to Children About Novel H1N1 Flu (Formerly Swine Flu) Concerns regarding talking to your child or children about the Swine Flu:
- Keep activities as consistent and normal as possible even if your normal routine changes (due to daycare or school closures).
- Ask your children what they have heard about novel H1N1 flu. Answer questions openly and honestly, at a level they can understand. Be concrete and do not avoid difficult questions.
- Allow your children to express their feelings and concerns. Let them know it is okay to be afraid or mad. Ask questions so you can help them identify and cope with their feelings.
- Children always need to feel safe and loved. When they are uncertain about situations and afraid they may need even more affection and attention.
- Limit exposure to media and adult conversations about novel H1N1 flu . If your children are watching T.V. try to watch with them or make sure you are available to answer questions about what they have heard.
- As appropriate, encourage healthy behaviors: eating well, sleeping well, playing outside.
- Use their questions as an opportunity to let them know what they can do to avoid getting novel H1N1 flu.
Are there medications for treating Swine Flu?
According to the CDC there are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir.
It appears that the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.
Therefore at this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.
CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.
- * Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu Â®) is approved to both treat and prevent influenza A and B virus infection in people one year of age and older.
- * Zanamivir (brand name Relenza Â®) is approved to treat influenza A and B virus infection in people 7 years and older and to prevent influenza A and B virus infection in people 5 years and older.
Check with your physician to find out if you would need to take one of these medications to prevent or treat Swine Flu.
If you have symptoms seek medical care.
Antiviral medications may help relieve symptoms and decrease the severity of the flu.
Should I be traveling Now?
As we know, Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States and several countries around the world. Traveling from one infected area to another or one country to another can spread the disease.
CDC has NOT recommended that people avoid domestic travel.
CDC recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.
WHO is *not* recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A (H1N1) virus. Today, international travel moves rapidly, with large numbers of individuals visiting various parts of the world.
They feel based on experience with prior outbreaks that limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading, but would be highly disruptive to the global community.
Avoid Nonessential Travel to Mexico
More information about Traveling in light of the H1N1 Flu
The CDC recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico. Changes to this recommendation will be posted at the Travel Section of the CDC website.
You can check their site for updates.
- Travelers' Health | CDC
Official U.S. government health recommendations for traveling. Provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Outbreak Notice: H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) in the United States | CDC Travelers' Health
Updated travel information about H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) in the United States
- H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and Severe Cases of Respiratory Illness in Mexico | CDC Travelers' Health
Information about H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and severe Cases of respiratory illness in Mexico
- WHO | No rationale for travel restrictions
WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus.
First U.S. Resident with a H1N1 Related Death in the United States
The first death of a U.S. resident with the Swine Flu was reported in Texas. The woman was a 33-year-old school teacher who had recently given birth to a healthy baby.
This woman had a "chronic underlying health conditions" which were made worse by getting exposed to the H1N1 flu.
- Second U.S. death linked to swine flu, officials say - CNN.com
A Texas woman who had swine flu has died, officials said Tuesday, marking the second death in the United States linked to the virus and the first of a U.S. resident.
- The Associated Press: Texas confirms first death of US resident with flu
Texas health officials on Tuesday announced the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu, and said she was a 33-year-old school teacher who had recently given birth to a healthy baby.
- Swine flu claims first U.S. resident - Swine flu- msnbc.com
Texas health officials announced the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu, and said she was a 33-year-old schoolteacher who had recently given birth to a healthy baby.
Clean Hands Help Prevent the Flu from the CDC
Clean hands can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as flu. This video explains the proper way to wash your hands.
Did you know you could get the flu after handling money?
Image: Modified Microsoft Image
Wash Your Hands after Handling Money
A 2008 article published in the American Society for Microbiology on the "Survival of Influenza Virus on Banknotes" is new being viewed in a new light with the H1N1 virus. The authors concluded that "unusual environmental contamination should be considered in the setting of pandemic preparedness." They found remnants of influenza virus surviving on paper money for 10 or more days.
According to the study, three things need to happen for any flu virus to be transmitted from one person to the next by handling money.
- A person who has the virus needs to sneeze or cough onto the bill or blow their nose so mucus stays on the currency
- A second person needs to touch the money while the virus is still viable (alive)
- The second person then needs to person put his or her contaminated hand in their mouth or pick their nose, getting the virus into their mucous membranes
Other options are to use coins and credit cards. Coins are less likely to carry the virus for long periods of time. Since you keep you credit card it passes through fewer hands than cash does; this helps reduce the chance of contact with an infected individual.
More about Getting the Flu from Handling Money
- How you can catch the flu after touching money Yes, cash can transmit the flu
In an interesting report (via Well), it's noted that the flu, including the H1N1 virus, can last for as long as an hour on money and other forms of paper currency.
- Catching Flu From Money - Well Blog - NYTimes.com
The influenza virus can survive on paper money for 10 or more days — suggesting that when we shop, spend and bank, there’s more than cash that is changing hands.
- Can You Catch Swine Flu From Money? at SmartMoney.com
How cash can spread illness isn't talked about much. What research shows.
- Survival of Influenza Virus on Banknotes
The unexpected stability of influenza virus in this nonbiological environment suggests that unusual environmental contamination should be considered in the setting of pandemic preparedness. Published in American Society for Microbiology
What are the 4 things I need to do to prevent from getting the Swine Flu?
The 4 things you can do that will help in preventing from getting the Swine Flu:
1. Wash Your Hands
2. Cover Your Cough
3. Don't Touch Your Face
4. Stay Away from People Who are Sick
If you get sick, stay home, so you won't pass it on to anyone else.
More Resources from the CDC on Swine Flu
- CDC - Influenza (Flu) | Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu)
Find out more about the Swine Flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- CDC Swine Influenza (Flu) | Information for Concerned Parents and Caregivers
More information about who may be at higher risk will be available when more is known about the disease. There are steps you can take to protect your family and to know when to seek medical care.
- CDC - Influenza (Flu) | Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A (H1N1): Taking Care of a Sick Person
Certain groups might be more likely to develop a severe illness from swine flu infection, such as persons with chronic medical conditions. The following information can help you provide safer care at home for sick persons during a flu pandemic.
- Swine Influenza in Pigs and People
A PDF Brochure on Swine Influenza in Pigs and People from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
New H1N1 Flu Books
Global Time Bomb in the Amazon Spotlight
Author John M. Dorrance provides information to identify, prevent, and treat H1N1 swine flu. Information for individuals, caregivers, as well as medical professionals is provided in this complete guide.
In addition to swine flu facts, information on other potential global health threats is included.
Where Can I Find Books & CD's on the H1N1 Flu?
New books and CD's on the H1N1 Flu.
How to Plan for a Pandemic
What can I do to plan for a pandemic?
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' recommends the following steps on their Pandemic Flu website from their Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist to follow to help plan for a pandemic:
- Store a two week supply of water and food.
During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs
This ensures you have a continuous supply in your home.
- Keep any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand
These over-the-counter drugs include pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Continue the four basic steps to prevent from getting the flu.
1. ) Wash Your Hands 2.) Cover Your Cough 3.) Don't Touch Your Face and 4.) Stay Away from People Who are Sick
Emergency Foods to Keep at Home
What foods should I keep at home for the pandemic?
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' recommends the following foods to keep in the home to prepare for a pandemic on their Pandemic Flu website from their Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter or nuts
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Bottled water
- Canned or jarred baby food and formula
- Pet food
- Other non-perishable items
Emergency Health & Medical Supplies to Keep at Home
What other emergency supplies should I keep at home for the pandemic?
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' recommends the following medical and health supplies to keep in the home to prepare for a pandemic on their Pandemic Flu website from their Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist:
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment
- Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash
- Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Fluids with electrolytes
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Portable radio
- Manual can opener
- Garbage bags
- Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers
Emergency Survival Kits Available on Amazon
Flu or no flu, an emergency survival kit is a good resource to have around...just in case there is a disaster.
Articles on Preparing for a Pandemic Flu
- Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families
Steps that individuals and families can take to prepare for pandemic influenza. Includes the Checklist in several different languages.
- Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families - PDF File
Printable PDF File of the Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families
One-stop access to U.S. Government H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information.
- Swine Flu: 8 Ways to Get Your Family Ready - On Parenting (usnews.com)
Pandemic flu plans aren't just for governments: Families need them too, says Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a family doc in Boise, Idaho. And parents need to prepare now.
- Safety and Health Topics: Pandemic Influenza
Information on what a pandemic is from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
- H1n1 (Swine Flu): Preparing for a Pandemic
Marsh provides several resources to help organizations prepare for the H1N1 (swine) flu.
- Preparing for a Swine Flu (H1N1) Pandemic
Tips on coping and emotional well-being from the Red Cross as a PDF File.
Watch Out for H1N1 Flu Scams and Scammers
Be on the Alert for Swine Flu Scammers
Scammers read newspapers, watch TV and surf the Internet and they know that by using a hook from the day's top headlines, that they'll be able to catch lots of fish.
Right now, issues associated with swine flu and a potential pandemic are of global interest and that means scammers have a very large pond to go phishing in.
BBB SpokespersonImage: Home Office of Crime Reduction, U.K. Can you stop the person you care for from being scammed?. Government Website.
What can I do to avoid the Swine Flu Scams and H1N1 Flu Scammers?
Unfortunately, with all of the media hype over the Swine Flu, also comes the opportunists and the scammers trying to ride the coattails of a frightened public and scaring people to buy useless, ineffective products, resources and services.
As always the onus is on the public to figure out what is legitimate and what is a scam. Make sure you are informed about the Swine Flu and then be on the look out for those who are trying to prey on frightened people.
The BBB offers the following advice to avoid swine flu scams:
- Avoid opening e-mail from an unknown source and do not click on any links in the body of the e-mail or open any attachments. Instead, delete the e-mail or report it to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the e-mail to email@example.com.
- Don't believe online offers for vaccinations against swine flu because a vaccine does not exist. For more information on swine flu and updates on progress in fighting the outbreak, go to www.cdc.gov/swineflu
- Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up to date and all operating system security patches have been installed. If your computer becomes infected as the result of a spam e-mail about swine flu, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Source: BBB. April 29, 2009. BBB Warns Against Swine Flu Scams: Scammers are creating their own epidemic of spam e-mails. Better Business Bureau.
Articles about Swine Flu Scammers and H1N1 Scams
- BBB Warns Against Swine Flu Scams: Scammers are creating their own epidemic of spam e-mails
Relying on reports from online security experts, Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent e-mails and Web sites trying to take advantage of the current swine flu outbreak.
- Ben Sherwood: Hogwash Alert: How to Survive the Pandemic of Swine Flu Scams and Swindles
Long before you're ever come down with swine flu, you'll be exposed to another kind of virus sweeping the world: A global outbreak of online scams preying on your fears of the so-called aporkalypse.
- Another outbreak? Experts warn of flu scams
Health officials are warning the public about another, less serious outbreak: a rise in flu-related scams, including a growing number of hoaxes.
- Bureau warns consumers about swine flu scams - Forbes.com
Don't get swindled by a swine flu scam. That's the message from the Better Business Bureau
- Swine Flu Scams Growing - Consumers and Internet Users Beware - Associated Content
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently reported an increase in the purchase of Internet addresses that include anything with the Swine Flu Scams.
News to Follow
Be Calm, but Cautious
Weekly Address May 2, 2009
What is the Government doing about the H1N1 Flu?
In his weekly address President Obama outlines the government actions being taken to address the H1N1 Flu Virus on Saturday May 2, 2009.
More about the Government's Response to the H1N1 Flu
In his week's address, President Barack Obama outlined the quick and aggressive steps the federal government is taking to confront the challenge of the H1N1 flu virus.
President Obama noted, "While the strain in the United States has not been as potent as the one in Mexico, it is impossible to say that this virus will not mutate into something more deadly."
The steps the federal government is taking include:
- Urging people with symptoms to stay home from work or school
- Distributing antiviral treatments from the Strategic National Stockpile
- Requesting $1.5 billion from Congress to invest in additional antivirals emergency equipment and the development of a vaccine
- Launching MySpace, Facebook and Twitter pages to update the public as quickly and effectively as possible.
- Weekly Address: Government Actions to Address the H1N1 Flu Virus
In his Weekly Address, the President discusses the government's response to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus, from school closings to activating online social networks. He urges Americans to be calm but cautious.
- Weekly Address: Government Actions to Address the H1N1 Flu Virus - Transcript
WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Outlines Government Actions to Address the 2009 H1N1 Flu
- The White House | Facebook
Welcome to the official Facebook Page of The White House. Get exclusive content and interact with The White House right from Facebook.
- The White House | MySpace
The Official Myspace Profile of The White House. Friend, Watch, Comment, Discuss.
- The White House (whitehouse) on Twitter
Welcome to the official Twitter page of the White House.
Swine influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak from the SuperCourse
This JIT lecture on H1N1 (Swine Flu) is an exciting and outstanding overview of H1N1 (Swine Flu) from the Supercourse.
The lecture has been translate it into Arabic, Russian, Farsi, Spanish, and Vietnamese and other languages. Follow the links below to access the lecture.
Links to the SuperCourse Swine influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak Lectures
- Swine influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak in US & Mexico: Potential for a Pandemic - SuperCourse
A Just in Time lecture on the Swine influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak by Rashid A. Chotani, MD, MPH, DTM, Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
- Swine influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak in US & Mexico: Potential for a Pandemic - SuperCourse
PowerPoint Presentation of the "Swine influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak in US & Mexico: Potential for a Pandemic" Supercourse lecture. This version was uploaded on April 30, 2009.
How can I follow the H1N1 Flu or Swine Flu with maps? - H1N1 Flu Reports from July 2009
Map of Confirmed H1N1 Flu Cases in United States - July 22, 2009
By comparing this map from July 2009 with the map from May, you can see how many more cases of H1N1 Flu have been reported.
Source: FluTracker. Map of Confirmed cases by US county in quartiles.
More about FluTracker
This map and the data behind it were compiled by Dr. Henry Niman, a biomedical researcher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, using technology provided by Rhiza Labs and Google.
The map was compiled using data from official sources, news reports and user-contributions.
Online Map for Tracking the progress of H1N1 swineÂ flu.
FluTracker's Map - May 7, 2009
Map of Confirmed H1N1 Flu Cases in United States - May 7, 2009
Source: FluTracker. Map of Confirmed cases by US county in quartiles.
Initial Swine Flu Map Created with Google Maps
The first Swine Flu Map created with Google Maps to track the epidemic.
Google Map of the H1N1 Swine Flu
The Google Map has moved to FluTracker.
- H1N1 Swine Flu
Map of the known, reported cases of Swine Flu. This is a good resource to bookmark if you want to follow what is happening with the Swine Influenza cases.
- Google Flu Trends
Explore flu trends across the U.S., including state-by-state graphs showing flu activity for the current flu season.
History of Swine Influenza
Is the Swine Flu related to the Spanish Flu?
According to the Wikipedia Article on Swine Flu, the swine flu is likely a descendant of the Spanish flu or more correctly referred to as the 1918 flu pandemic. This flu virus caused a devastating pandemic in humans in 1918-1919 and resulted in the deaths of 20 million people.
Descendants of this virus have persisted in pigs; they probably circulated in humans until the appearance of the Asian flu in 1957, and re-emerged in 1976.
Direct transmission from pigs to humans is rare, with only 12 cases in the U.S. since 2005.
Spanish Flu Hospital
Image: Public Library of Science Journal. Spanish Flu Hospital. Emergency military hospital during influenza epidemic. 1918 - 1919. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license. Wikimedia.
We're Better Prepared than 90 Years Ago
I think the world is infinitely better prepared
than it was 90 years ago.
Referring to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic
Interesting Articles on the History or Epidemiology of the Swine Flu
- 1918 Influenza Pandemic | CDC EID
The "Spanish" influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, which caused nearly 50 million deaths worldwide, remains an ominous warning to public health. Many questions about its origins, its unusual epidemiologic features, and the basis of its pathogenicity rema
- Swine influenza: a zoonosis
History and classification of the influenza virus Influenza viruses are the cause of outbreaks of acute respiratory disease, known as influenza or 'flu', which has afflicted man and animals since ancient times published in Veterinary Sciences Tomorro
- What Is Swine Flu?
Swine flu (also called swine influenza, or simply, flu) is an acute respiratory disease of pigs (also called hogs or swine) caused by a tiny spheroid virus that belongs to the Influenza A virus group. Symptoms of swine flu in swine herds include feve
The Mysterious Flu of 1918 in the Amazon Spotlight
This medical history begins by describing how the influenza of 1918 spread across the world, infecting 2 billion people and killing 20 to 40 million at a time when people could not see a virus.
The second half of the book is devoted to the efforts of scientists, once the pandemic subsided, to determine its cause.