H1N1 (Swine Flu)

H1N1 flu is a contagious new influenza virus. Illness with the new H1N1 flu virus has ranged from mild to severe.

The symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and possibly vomiting or diarrhea.

H1N1 flu is spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by infected persons. Get vaccinated to protect yourself from the H1N1 flu.

If you are infected with H1N1 flu, you should avoid close contact with others, especially those who might easily get the flu.

What is H1N1 Flu?

H1N1 flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia, plus avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a “quadruple reassortant” virus.

H1N1 flu is contagious. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. The virus is spreading from person-to-person, in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

H1N1 flu is NOT caused by eating pork or pork products. H1N1 flu is not a foodborne disease, it is a respiratory disease. The USDA continues to remind consumers that all meat and poultry products are safe to eat when properly prepared and cooked.

Illness with the new H1N1 flu virus has ranged from mild to severe. While the vast majority of people who have contracted H1N1 flu have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.

About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with H1N1 flu have had one or more medical conditions that placed them in the “high risk” category for serious seasonal flu-related complications. These include pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

Seniors (adults 65 years and older) are prioritized for antiviral treatment to limit risk of complication if they get flu. While your age means you have a lower risk of getting the flu, certain risk conditions (COPD, diabetes, etc.) mean if you get sick, you may have higher risk of complications from any influenza.

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