- Published on November 04, 2009
This year's flu season began early in much of the United States. With the addition of 2009 H1N1 (also known as Swine Flu), many people have been more health conscious, trying to avoid the spread of germs.
As with a typical flu season, there are several groups of people who are more likely to experience complications from the 2009 H1N1 flu. Those individuals are children younger than 5 (especially children younger than 2 years of age), people 65 and older, pregnant women and individuals with chronic illnesses. Flu symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. If you are experiencing flu symptoms you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except when receiving medical care.
Treatment for 2009 H1N1 is quite similar to treatment for the seasonal flu. This flu season, antiviral drugs are being used mainly to treat those who are very ill such as people who are hospitalized or those who are more likely to develop serious complications as a result of H1N1. Most people who have contracted 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true of seasonal flu. Over the counter medications can provide some symptom relief. However, when considering the use of over the counter or prescription medication, be wary of drug interactions and the dangers of using more than one medication at the same time. Most importantly, when experiencing illness, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after the fever is absent (fever should be gone without using fever-reducing medicine).
To keep yourself and those around you healthy, please remember to cough and sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not an option.
For more information on 2009 H1N1 and season flu viruses, visit www.cdc.gov.