|Novel H1N1 Flu: What To Do If You Get H1N1 Flu
There are many things you can do if you become ill with the novel flu:
• Check with your health care provider about any special care you might need if you are pregnant or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema.
• Check with your health care provider about whether you should take antiviral medications.
• While at home, keep away from others as much as possible so you don’t make others sick. Stay in a room separate from the common areas of the house such as a spare bedroom, keep your door closed, and use a separate bathroom.
• Do not accept visitors. A phone call is safer than a visit. If someone must care for you, limit it to one person who is not at high risk for flu complications.
• Keep away from others by not going out in public. Do not go to school, work, or any other locations unless to seek medical care, and then wear a facemask.
• Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
• Get plenty of rest.
• Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, and sports drinks (electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes. 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.
• Fevers and aches can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, or Nuprin®) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
• Children 5 years of age and older and teenagers with the novel flu can take medicines without aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, or Nuprin®) to relieve symptoms.
• Children younger than 4 years of age should NOT be given over-the-counter medications without first speaking with a health care provider. The safest care for flu symptoms in children younger than 2 years of age is using a cool-mist humidifier and a suction bulb to help clear away mucus.
• Wear a facemask if available and tolerable when sharing common spaces with other household members to help prevent spreading the virus to others. This is especially important if other household members are at high risk for complications from influenza.
• Be watchful for emergency warning signs (see “Symptoms of Novel H1N1 Flu” section) that might indicate you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Antiviral medications can sometimes help lessen influenza symptoms, but require a prescription. Most people do not need these antiviral drugs to fully recover from the flu. However, if you are at higher risk for severe flu complications or have severe flu illness and require hospitalization, you might benefit from antiviral medications. Antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within two days of when your symptoms start).
There are two influenza antiviral medications that are recommended for use against novel H1N1 flu. They are called oseltamivir (trade name Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®).
Aspirin or aspirin-containing products should not be taken to any confirmed or suspected ill case of novel flu virus infection for those aged 18 years old and younger due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome. For relief of fever, other anti-pyretic medications are recommended such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.