Microsoft word - fact sheet human swine flu april 27.doc
Fact Sheet on Human Swine Flu
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported an outbreak of Swine
Influenza A (H1N1) in Mexico and the United States that has been linked to a
significant number of deaths. The World Health Organization has called the
outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” Are there human infections with swine flu in Australia?
At present no cases of this strain of influenza have been identified in Australia.
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
This virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this
time, it not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The 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. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with
swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and
deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu,
swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
This virus appears to be sensitive to oseltamivir (TamiFlu®) and zanamivir
(Relenza®). Treatment with these antiviral medications may be considered in
more severe cases confirmed by viral testing to be due to Influenza A.
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially
contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days
following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be
contagious for longer periods.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are
everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause
respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or
sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from
work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Fact Sheet on Human Swine Flu
What should I do if I get sick?
If you have travelled to Mexico, USA or Canada, within the past 7 days and
become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose,
sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact our
practice for advice, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. We can
confirm with the public health unit whether influenza testing or treatment is
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as
much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek
emergency medical care.
• In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
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
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