Swine flu & you
Swine Flu & You
Information for People Living in Orange County
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Most commonly, human cases of swine flu happen in people who are around pigs but it’s possible for swine flu viruses to spread from person to person also.
Are humans infected with swine flu in Orange County?
In late March and early April 2009, cases of swine flu were first reported in San
Diego and Imperial Counties in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas.
CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this
situation. Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human
to human. However, at this time, it not known how easily the virus spreads
between people. What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular
human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills
and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with
swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and
deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu,
swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. How serious is swine flu infection?
Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and
died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 20 cases with serious illness in several people and one death.
How do you catch swine flu?
Spread of swine flu can occur in two ways:
• Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with
• Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-to-human spread of
swine flu has been documented also and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment
and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs
are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by
keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral
drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may
also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if
started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially
contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days
following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially
be contagious for longer periods. What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
• 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. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from
work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in Orange County and become ill with influenza-like symptoms,
including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, or
diarrhea, you may want to contact your health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed. If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as
much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek
emergency medical care. In children
emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine
influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked
pork products is safe.
More information on swine flu can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/swine, or call
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
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