What age group is most susceptible to H1N1?
People between the ages of 5 and 24 have been hardest hit, with a rate of 27 cases per 100,000 people. That is followed by those 0 to 4, with a rate of 23 cases per 100,000 people. People 65 and older had the lowest rate, 1.3 cases per 100,000 people, leading to the speculation that older people might have some immunity to the strain.
How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
People infected might be able to infect others from the day before showing symptoms to up to a week after becoming ill.
What can you do to avoid catching H1N1?
Use the same precautions you would use with any flu.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care.
Are there medicines to treat H1N1?
The CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) or zanamivir (brand name Relenza) for treatment and/or prevention. These antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight the flu by keeping viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They might also prevent serious complications. The current priority for antiviral drugs is to treat severe influenza illness and sick people who have a condition that places them at high risk for complications.
How should you care for people with flu-like symptoms at home?
Have them drink clear fluids such as water, broth, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages to keep from being dehydrated. Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often and especially after using tissues and after coughing or sneezing into hands. Wear a face mask if available and tolerable when around other members of the household. This is especially important if other household members are at high risk for complications from influenza, such as having another condition such as diabetes or cancer.
What are signs that urgent medical treatment is needed?
In children: Fast breathing or trouble breathing; bluish or gray skin color; not drinking enough fluids; severe or persistent vomiting; not waking up or not interacting; not wanting to be held because of irritation; flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
In adults: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen; sudden dizziness; confusion; severe or persistent vomiting; flu-like symptoms that improve but return with fever and worse cough
Will certain groups be given first access to the vaccine once it is available? The CDC recommends that some people be given priority. They would be, in order: Pregnant women; people living with or caring for children younger than 6 months; health care and emergency medical services personnel; people between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age; and people 25 through 64 who are at higher risk because of chronic disorders or compromised immune systems.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, visit www.pandemicflu.gov
For information on seasonal and H1N1 flu and vaccine:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu hotline: 1-800-232-4636
CDC Web site: www.pandemicflu.gov
Lexington-Fayette County Health Department flu hotline: (859) 288-7529