H1N1 Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by the type A flu (H1N1) virus. It now forms part of seasonal influenza in most countries.
How it is spread The virus is spread from person-to-person. It can be passed to other people when they are exposed to droplets that are released when you cough or sneeze. They then inhale the droplets in the air or get infected from contaminated hands or surfaces. These droplets can spread about one metre. They hang suspended in the air for a while, but then land on surfaces where the virus can survive for up to eight hours. Anyone who touches these surfaces can spread the virus by touching anything else.
Signs & Symptoms
Signs of H1N1 Influenza are the same as for seasonal flu. It includes:
- muscle and joint pain
- sore throat
- runny nose
- sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
It usually starts with a sudden high fever and sudden cough.
Other symptoms may include tiredness, chills, aching muscles and loss of appetite.
You can reduce, but not get rid of, the risk of catching or spreading H1N1 Influenza by:
- Always covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully
- Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands often with soap and warm water.
- This helps to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people
- Cleaning surfa
- Avoiding close contact with people who might have flu
- Reducing the time spent in crowded settings
- Improving airflow in your home and office by opening windows
- Practicing good health habits – get adequate sleep, eat nutritious food and exercise regularly. High risk groups should get vaccinated.
- pregnant women
- people with underlying medical conditions like
- chronic lung disease, including asthma
- cardiovascular disease
- weak immune systems.
Most people with H1N1 Influenza experience mild symptoms and make a rapid recovery without any medical treatment. These people should take plenty of fluids and stay in bed and rest.
Seek medical care if you:
- experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- have lips that turned blue
- have bloody or coloured sputum<M/li>
- experience chest pains
- experience an altered mental status
- have low blood pressure
- have a high fever for longer than three days.
Antiviral treatment is only needed if a healthcare practitioner decides that you are at a serious risk of developing severe illness.