From the state of Oregon & the American Red Cross websites:
H1N1 influenza is currently circulating in Oregon. Officials say H1N1 continues to present similarily to seasonal flu in terms of severity. Certain groups, including pregnant women and people with underlying conditions, are added at increased risk of complications for H1N1 influenza.
The symptoms of H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat and body aches, fatigue and weakness. Also, vomiting and diarrhea have been reported more commonly with H1N1flu infection than is typical for seasonal flu.
If you get sick, it is recommended that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Staying home when you are sick is the most important thing you can do to take care of yourself and protect others. Stay home until you have been free from fever (a measurable temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) for at least 24 hours.
Protect yourself by getting vaccinated
Be sure to get an annual flu shot or nasal-spray vaccine as soon as it is available. This will protect you from the most common varieties of seasonal flu expected to be circulating this fall and winter.
Once a new vaccine is available, two additional flu shots may be necessary to protect you from the pandemic H1N1 virus. To offer the best protection, your second shot for H1N1 will likely need to be given 21-28 days after your first vaccination.
Prevent the spread of germs
The flu virus is spread from person to person when an ill person coughs, sneezes or touches things that others use.
Do these simple, effective things to help protect yourself and others:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. It is best not to use your bare hand. Cough into your sleeve or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
- Properly dispose of the tissue in a garbage can.
- Wash your hands. The best way to protect yourself from viruses is to wash your hands often. Soap and water are best, but when they are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel or disposable wipes.
- As much as possible minimize touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The flu virus is often spread when a person touches something that has the virus on it and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Stay home when you’re sick or have flu symptoms. Drink extra water, get plenty of rest.
- Check with a health care provider as needed.
The flu virus causes the body to lose water through fever and sweating. To prevent dehydration, it is very important for a person with the flu to drink a lot of water— up to 12 glasses a day. Analgesics, cold compresses and humidifiers will also help ease the aches and pains associated with influenza.
During a flu pandemic, government officials may be required to limit community movement or impose travel restrictions to help prevent the flu virus from spreading. Things to keep in mind:
- You may be asked to stay home for an extended period of time even if you are not sick.
- Schools, workplaces and public gatherings such as sporting events or worship services may close temporarily.
- Mass transportation such as subways, buses, trains and air travel may be limited.
- You, your family and friends may need to rely on each other when you cannot depend on the services you normally use.
Planning at Home
Store a two-week supply of food. Select foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation or cooking. Ensure that formula for infants and any child’s or older person’s special nutritional needs are a part of your planning. Plan for your pets as well.
* Store a two-week supply of water, 1 gallon of water per person per day, in clean plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
* Store a supply of nonprescription drugs, such as pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, stomach remedies and anti-diarrheal medication, as well as vitamins and fluids with electrolytes (such as sports drinks).
* Store health and cleaning supplies, such as bleach, tissues, a thermometer, disposable gloves, soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
* Ask your health care provider and health insurance company if you can get an extra supply of your regular prescription drugs and medical supplies, such as glucose monitoring supplies.
* Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick.