|Novel H1N1 Flu: Caring For Someone With H1N1 Flu
There are many steps you can take when caring for someone with novel H1N1 flu that will help prevent the spread of the infection throughout the rest of your household:
Identify the caregiver(s). If possible, have only one adult in the home take care of the sick person. The caregiver should not be someone at high risk for influenza associated complications.
Keep the sick person in a room separate from the common areas of the house such as in a spare bedroom. Give them their own bathroom and keep their bathroom and bedroom doors closed. Clean the bathroom daily with household disinfectant.
Make sure the sick person stays home and keeps away from others as much as possible for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (their fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medications). The exception would be to get medical care, and the sick person should wear a facemask when receiving medical care.
Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person. When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so they will not cough in your face.
Consider wearing a facemask yourself when you are around the sick person, especially if you are at high risk for flu complications.
Clean your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub after you touch the sick person, items and surfaces in their designated bedroom and bathroom, used tissues, or laundry.
Talk to your health care provider about taking antiviral medication to prevent yourself from getting the flu.
Have the sick person wear a facemask if available and tolerable if they need to be in a common area of the house near other persons.
If possible, consideration should be given to maintaining good ventilation in shared household areas by keeping windows open in restrooms, the kitchen, and bathrooms.
Use paper towels for drying hands after hand washing or dedicate cloth towels to each person in the household. Have different colored towels for each person.
Monitor yourself and household members for flu symptoms and contact a telephone hotline or health care provider if symptoms occur.
Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but it is important to not share these items and to wash them thoroughly between uses. Linens such as bed sheets and towels should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Avoid hugging laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating yourself. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry.
If you are well but have an ill family member at home with novel H1N1 flu, you can go to work as usual. If you have an underlying medical condition or are pregnant, call your health care provider for advice regarding whether or not to go to work.