WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
H1N1 influenza (swine flu) is an infection caused by a virus. It is easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or has close contact with others. You may be able to spread H1N1 influenza to others for 1 week or longer after signs or symptoms appear.
- Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain and fever. You can buy acetaminophen without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. You can buy NSAIDs without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you, and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Antivirals: This is given to fight an infection caused by a virus.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Manage your symptoms:
- Rest and sleep: Rest and sleep may help you get better faster.
- Drink plenty of liquids: Ask your primary healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. This can help prevent dehydration.
Prevent the spread of H1N1 influenza:
- Wash your hands often: Use soap and water. Use gel hand cleanser when there is no soap and water available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough: Cough into a tissue or your shirtsleeve so you do not spread germs from your hands.
- Clean shared items: Clean table surfaces, doorknobs, and light switches with a germ-killing cleaner. Do not share towels, silverware, and dishes with people who are sick. Wash bed sheets, towels, silverware, and dishes with soap and water.
- Wear a face mask: Wear a mask over your mouth and nose if you have H1N1 influenza or are near anyone who has H1N1 influenza. Ask where to buy single-use masks.
- Stay home if you are sick: Stay away from others as much as possible while you recover.
- Influenza vaccine: This vaccine helps prevent influenza (flu). Everyone older than age 6 months should get a yearly influenza vaccine. Get the vaccine as soon as it is available, usually in October or November each year.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have new muscle pain or weakness.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You are dizzy, or you are urinating less or not at all.
- You have a seizure.
- You have a headache with a stiff neck, and you feel tired or confused.
- You have trouble breathing, and your lips look purple or blue.
- You have new pain or pressure in your chest.
- Your symptoms, such as shortness of breath, vomiting, or diarrhea, get worse.
- Your symptoms, such as fever and coughing, seem to get better, but then get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.