What are the typical symptoms of swine flu?
These are the same for pandemic and seasonal influenza. Typical symptoms include a sudden onset of high fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, body aches, chills, tiredness, and lack of appetite. Some of those affected have reported nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What should I do if I have any of the above-mentioned symptoms?
If mild do the followng:
Take medications as prescribed:
When to seek emergency care:
Worldwide, the majority of patients infected with the pandemic virus continue to experience mild symptoms and recover fully within a week, even in the absence of any medical treatment. Monitoring of viruses from multiple outbreaks has detected no evidence of change in the ability of the virus to spread or to cause severe illness. Groups at increased risk of severe or fatal illness include people with underlying medical conditions, most notably chronic lung disease (including asthma), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immunosuppression. Some preliminary studies suggest that obesity, and especially extreme obesity, may be a risk factor for more severe disease.
What is the difference between swine flu and "normal" influenza?
The pandemic A(H1N1) influenza (flu) virus (germ) is a new member of the influenza virus family. Different influenza viruses cause the annual seasonal (winter) flu and, every few decades, a global pandemic Influenza viruses infect birds and mammals and are usually species specific. Occasionally viruses cross overfrom one species to another. The pandemic A(H1N1) virus seems to have originated in pigs; however it is not spreading in pigs or from pigs to humans but only between human beings. More people die annually of other causes such road accidents, TB, AIDS, etc. In contrast, during pandemic influenza many of the deaths occur in younger and apparently healthy individuals. The number of deaths during an influenza pandemic varies greatly, depending mostly on the virulence of the virus, but also on factors like crowding, individual health, access to health care, and preventive measures.
Are there any dangers for pregnant women?
Yes - Evidence from previous pandemics further supports the conclusion that pregnant women are at heightened risk. While pregnant women are also at increased risk during epidemics of seasonal influenza, the risk takes on added importance in the current pandemic, which continues to affect a younger age group than that seen during seasonal epidemics. While treatment within 48 hours of symptom onset brings the greatest benefits, later initiation of treatment may also be beneficial.
Can I treat swine flu with flu medication?
Yes, where one has mild symptoms.
Can I use over-the-counter pharmacy meds or antibiotics?
Yes, but antibiotics can only be prescribed by a doctor.
How do I know when a case becomes "moderate to severe"?
Can ordinary flu turn into swine flu?
If a child sneezes at a school which my children frequents, must I still send them to school or can I keep them at home?
A sick child should stay at home and healthy children should be in school. Also make your child aware of what to do if someone coughs or sneezes...stand two metres away, teach cough etiquette, good hygiene practices etc.
If a sibling has contracted swine flu, must the other children be kept in isolation?
The sick child must be kept in isolation as far as possible. Try keeping the child in his own space and dont let him share the same bed.
When does the H1N1 virus become infectious?
From the onset of flu like symptoms until 24 hrs after the symptoms have disappeared.
When should you go to the hospital?
Important to note is that for hospital referral the person should have first presented to their nearest local clinic.
Are the symptoms the same or do they differ from person to person?
In the majority of instances they would be the same but the combination of symptoms vary from person to person and because it's a new virus all known symptoms known yet.
In children, is recovery the same in all kids or does it differ from person to person and is this dependent on one's immune system?
Recovery and duration for recovery differ from person to person depending on the strength of their immune systems.