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Alameda County Public Health Department
H1N1 (Swine) Flu
Frequently Asked Questions
October 13, 2009
H1N1 Flu Basics
Pandemic
On June 11, 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) raised H1N1 to Phase 6, pandemic level. This designation means H1N1 is being spread easily from person-to-person across the globe. Phase 6 does not address the severity of H1N1 il ness; it does cal for global implementation of measures to address the spread and treatment of this virus. 1. What is H1N1
H1N1 (also referred to as “swine flu” or “swine influenza A”) is an flu (swine flu)?
influenza virus causing il ness in people. This virus was first detected in people in April 2009 in the United States. The virus is spreading person-
to-person, probably in the same way that regular seasonal influenza
viruses spread.

2. Why was H1N1
This virus was original y referred to as “swine flu,” because many of the flu originally
genes in this virus are similar to an influenza virus that normal y affects called “swine
North American pigs. However, laboratory testing has found that H1N1 is very different from influenza viruses that normal y occur in pigs in North America. 3. How serious
Most cases of swine flu in the U.S. to date have been mild and have not have the U.S.
required medical care or treatment with antivirals. cases been?
4. What are the
The signs of H1N1 flu in people are like the signs of seasonal human flu. signs of H1N1 flu
These signs include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, in people?
chil s, and fatigue. Some people report that they have diarrhea and vomiting. In the past, severe il ness and deaths have been reported with H1N1 flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 flu may cause chronic medical conditions to get worse. 5. How is H1N1
To diagnose H1N1 flu, a nose, throat or blood sample would need to be flu diagnosed?
taken and tested for influenza. In Alameda County, suspected cases of H1N1 flu are sent to the state public health laboratory for confirmation. Updated 10/13/09- Information adapted from CDC and WHO_JCL
6. Is there
At this time, CDC advises the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment for
treatment and/or prevention of infection with H1N1 Flu viruses. If your H1N1 (Swine) Flu health care provider confirms that you have H1N1 Flu, they will advise
in humans?
7. Is there an
Yes, initial supplies of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine have arrived in Alameda H1N1 vaccine?
County. Check with your primary care provider to see if they have ordered and received H1N1 vaccine. More vaccine is expected to arrive. for up-to-date information. 8. How serious is
Influenza is always serious – each year, in the United States, seasonal
this situation?
influenza results, on average, in an estimated 36,000 dying from flu-related causes. The new H1N1 virus poses the potential to be at least as serious as seasonal flu if not more so. Because this is a new virus, most people wil not have immunity to it and so illness may be more severe and widespread as a result. The Spread of H1N1 Flu
9. How does
H1N1 flu is thought to spread in the same way that the seasonal flu spreads. When infected people fail to cover their cough or sneeze, flu germs are propel ed through the air and land on the nose or mouth of another person or object. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu germs on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. 10. If I have
Infected people may be able to infect others one day before symptoms H1N1 flu, when
develop and up to seven or more days after getting sick. This means that can I pass it to
you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick and while you are sick. Children, especial y younger children, may 11. How long
We know that some viruses, bacteria, and germs can live 2-8 hours on can viruses
objects like tables, doorknobs, and desks. Washing hands often wil help live outside
you lower the chance of getting infected from touching these common the body?
12. Do pigs
At this time, there is no evidence that pigs in the United States are infected carry this virus
with this new virus. However, there are flu viruses that commonly cause outbreaks of il ness in pigs. Most of the time, these viruses do not infect catch this
people, but influenza viruses can spread back and forth between pigs and virus from a
Updated 10/13/09- Information adapted from CDC and WHO_JCL
Vaccination Information
13. Who can
As priority groups are subject to change, please check this link for the most up-to-date
vaccine?
14. Where can
You should go to your regular source of healthcare to get the vaccine. If you get it?
you do not have a regular source of healthcare and are among the priority groups you can go to the specified vaccination sites. Sites wil be established in the fol owing cities: Albany, Oakland, Freemont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Pleasanton, San Leandro. 15. How many
The CDC recommends that people 10 years and older get one dose, doses are
children 6 months to 9 years old receive two doses. Infants younger than required?
6 months of age are too young to get the 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. CDC recommends that the two doses of 2009 H1N1 vaccine be separated by at least 2-4 weeks. 16. Will the
No, the seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the 2009 seasonal flu
H1N1 flu. It will, however, protect you from three other flu viruses. vaccine
protect against
H1N1?

17. Can I get
Inactivated 2009 H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the same visit as the H1N1 and
any other vaccine. Live 2009 H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the seasonal flu
same visit as any other live or inactivated vaccine except seasonal live
vaccine at the
same time?

18. Should I
If you were il but do not know if you had 2009 H1N1 infection, you should get vaccinated
get vaccinated, if you doctor recommends it. If you have had 2009 H1N1 against 1009
flu, as confirmed by an RT-PCR test, you should have some immunity H1N1 if I have
against 2009 H1N1 flu and can choose not to get the vaccine. However, had the flu
vaccination of a person with some immunity would not be harmful. since Spring
2009?

How to Prevent H1N1 Flu
17. What can I
Take these steps to prevent the spread of germs and to protect do to protect
myself from
getting sick?
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds, especial y after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also work. Rub the cleaner between your hands until dry. ! Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this Updated 10/13/09- Information adapted from CDC and WHO_JCL
! Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash immediately or flush it down the toilet after you use it. ! Try to avoid close contact with sick people. 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 making others sick. ! Click here for more information on what you can do to protect If You Get Sick
If you live in areas where people have been identified with new H1N1 flu and become il with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, should I do if I
runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you get sick?
should stay home and avoid contact with other people, except to seek If you have severe il ness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health care provider or seek medical care. Your health care provider wil determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed 19. When to
If you become il and experience any of the fol owing warning signs, seek emergency
In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention
! Fast breathing or trouble breathing ! Bluish skin color ! Not keeping fluids down ! 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 In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention
include: ! Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath ! Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen Updated 10/13/09- Information adapted from CDC and WHO_JCL

Source: http://www.stanton.cv.k12.ca.us/H1N1_Flu_QA_Current1.pdf

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