What to Do If You Get Flu-Like Symptoms
The novel H1N1 flu virus is causing illness in infected persons in the United States and countries around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects that illnesses may continue for some time. As a result, you or people around you may become ill. If so, you need to recognize the symptoms and know what to do. Common symptoms include:
• Fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny nose or stuffiness, body aches,
• People at higher risk of serious complications from seasonal flu include people age 65
years and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people who are immunosuppressed.
Avoid Contact With Others If you are sick, you may be ill for a week or longer. You should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to seek medical care. If you leave the house to seek medical care, you can wear a mask or cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. In general you should avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness. With seasonal flu people may be contagious from one day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick. Children might be contagious for longer periods. Treatment is Available for Those Who are Seriously Ill It is expected most people will recover without seeking medical care. If you have severe illness or are at high risk for complications from flu, contact your health care provider or seek medical care. Your health care provider will determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed. If flu is widespread, there will be less of a need to continue testing people. Antiviral drugs can be given to treat those who become severely ill with influenza. These drugs are prescription medications (pills, liquid or an inhaler) and are recommended for use against H1N1 flu. Oseltamivir (trade name Tamiflu ®) and zanamivir (Relenza®) are used for treating H1N1. The drugs work best if given within 2 days of becoming ill, but may be given later if illness is severe.
Emergency Warning Signs 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 include:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing • Bluish or gray skin color • Not drinking enough fluids • Severe or persistent vomiting • 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 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 • Sudden dizziness • Confusion • Severe or persistent vomiting • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Protect Yourself, Your Family and Community
• Stay informed. Health officials will provide additional information as it becomes
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way. • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. • If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or
until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Keep away from other household members as much as possible. This is to keep you from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
• Learn more about how to take care of someone who is ill in "
• Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds, and other social
• If you don’t have one yet, consider developing a family emergency plan as a precaution.
This should include storing a supply of extra food, medicines, and other essential supplies. Further information can be found in the “Flu Planning Checklist” at
Morris County Office of Health Management, PO Box 900, Morristown, 973-631-5484, Source: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, May 2009
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