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What is H1N1?
The H1N1 influenza virus (human swine influenza or human swine flu) is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza virus. This strain of the flu is a new and emerging influenza virus that originated in swine, and is now transmittable between people. The H1N1 virus causes an infection of the respiratory tract, including the nose, nasal passages, throat, lungs and bronchial tubes.
What are the symptoms of H1N1?
The symptoms of H1N1 influenza are similar to seasonal influenza. This includes fever and cough and one or more of the following symptoms: sore throat, muscle aches, joint pain or weakness. Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may also be present and fever may not be prominent.
Like seasonal influenza, H1N1 can very in severity from mild to severe. To date, most illness from H1N1 influenza has been relatively mild and self-limiting with most cases recovering quickly. The most severe instances of H1N1 have been in known risk groups such as the immuno-compromised and pregnant women.
What can I do to protect myself and others from H1N1?
The Vancouver Island Health Authority recommends the following precautions to prevent or minimize the spread of H1N1:
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or shoulder
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand gels are also effective.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.Infections can spread that way.
- If you develop a fever and cough, stay home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. If your symptoms become more severe contact your health care provider.
Detailed information about what you can do to stay healthy and to protect yourself against the flu is available on the Vancouver Island Health Authority website.
For More H1N1 Information
Provincial Government http://www.gov.bc.ca/h1n1
Vancouver Island Health Authority http://www.viha.ca/mho/disease/h1n1_flu_virus/
Ministry of Education http://www.gov.bc.ca/h1n1/backtoschool/index.html