What is this new flu?
"Swine flu" is an influenza A (H1N1) virus normally found in pigs. There are many such viruses and they rarely infect humans. The virus currently causing human illness is a new type of swine flu that has developed the ability to infect people and be transmitted from person to person.
Although this new virus is called "swine flu," it is not transmitted from pigs to humans, or from eating pork products. Like other respiratory diseases, it is spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. When people cough or sneeze, they spread germs through the air or onto surfaces that other people may touch.
We've prepared this article to enable members to become both prepared and informed. Don't panic and keep this in perspective with a regular flu season. According to Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County, "So far, locally and nationally, this swine flu strain appears to be no more severe than the flu we'd see in a typical flu season." The advice and recommendations shared are appropriate for good health and hygiene year round.
Everyday behaviors to stay healthy
What are the symptoms?
Human symptoms for this new type of H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of the regular "seasonal" influenza that happens each year. Symptoms include fever, cough and sore throat. In addition, fatigue, lack of appetite, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea have been reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the H1N1 virus causing mild illness in some states is the same strain as the virus causing an outbreak of respiratory illness among humans in some areas of Mexico. It is not yet known if all of the fatal or hospitalized respiratory illness cases in Mexico are actually due to this virus. It is being investigated.
Should I go to the doctor?
It is not necessary to see a health care provider if flu symptoms are mild. If symptoms are more severe, call your health care provider to discuss if you or your child need to be seen and evaluated.
Keep children who are sick at home. Don't send them to school or daycare.
If your child experiences any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care: