Flu Season Tips

By Michael Sanders

Fall is upon us and so is the flu season. There are steps to take to protect ourselves now against the swine flu or also called the second wave of the H1N1 flu.

Step 1

First, recognize the symptoms of the H1N1 flu. If you do present any of these symptoms, get to a doctor as soon as possible. The symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) have been reported with H1N1 infection. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Step 2

Be aware at all times about who you are around and what you are touching. Wash your hands often throughout the day, after using the restroom, before eating, and after touching anything that anyone else could have touched (phones, coffee maker, refrigerator, anything!). Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water. Use hand sanitizers at any point you have touched anything public and you cannot get to a sink. Carry hand sanitizer with you in your car, purse, etc.

Step 3

To help stop the spread of H1N1 flu, if you think you are sick stay home. Do not go to work, do not go out to the grocery store or run any errands. Remember, go to the doctor’s office immediately, pick up your prescription, but go straight home afterwards. Limit contact with your family if possible, sleep in the guest room in your house if you have one! Always cough/sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue and immediately wash your hands.

Step 4

Start to protect yourself today against the H1N1 flu with Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to keep our immune system protected against the different diseases, such as flu. We get most of our vitamin D from the sunlight on our skin. Foods that we need for vitamin D include yogurt, eggs, salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, and cod.

Some Questions and Answers

Will the seasonal flu vaccine also protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu?

The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu.

Can the seasonal vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be given at the same time?

It is anticipated that seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day. However, we expect the seasonal vaccine to be available earlier than the H1N1 vaccine. The usual seasonal influenza viruses are still expected to cause illness this fall and winter. Individuals are encouraged to get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it is available.

How long can an infected person spread H1N1 flu to others?

People with H1N1 influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to seven days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

Can people catch H1N1 flu from eating pork?

No. H1N1 influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get H1N1 influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe.

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?

Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

Are there medicines to treat H1N1 flu?

Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu ®) or zanamivir (brand name Relenza ®) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these H1N1 influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within two days of symptoms).

Active Home Care Services is family owned and operated by Michael and Janet Sanders. Please call anytime toll free at 866-458-2022 to discuss your home care needs whether you are suffering from illness or injury. Our nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.