Key facts on h1n1 flu virus

Key Facts on H1N1 Flu Virus
H1N1 Flu Virus
The H1N1 flu virus is a new strain of pandemic influenza which is different than the seasonal
flu. People have no natural immunity to protect against this virus. The H1N1 flu virus
emerged in April 2009 and surveillance of its spread shows that it is affecting more young
and healthy people than the regular , which normally affects seniors and young
children. People with underlying medical conditions and may be at a
greater risk for severe illness.
What is it?
The H1N1 flu virus – also known as human swine influenza – is a respiratory illness that
affects the nose, throat and lungs. This virus usually affects pigs, but has been transferred
to humans.
The H1N1 flu virus has caused primarily mild illness in Canada, but Canadians need to be
prepared to respond to a potentially more severe form of the virus that may emerge this
How is it spread?
The H1N1 flu virus is contagious and is spread the same way as regular seasonal influenza.
This happens when an infected person coughs or sneezes and their germs enter the nose,
eyes, or throat of another person. The germs can also rest on hard surfaces like counters
and doorknobs, and can be picked up on hands and transmitted to the respiratory system
when someone touches their mouth and/or nose. It is not possible to catch it by eating
pork or pork products or through blood transfusions.
More research is being done on how long a person can be infectious (be able to spread the
virus to others), but it is believed that this period is for one day before the onset of
symptoms and continues for approximately seven days after symptoms have started.The
time it takes between being infected and experiencing symptoms is between two and seven
Almost always:
▪ Fatigue▪ Muscle aches▪ Sore throat▪ Headache▪ Decreased appetite▪ Runny nose Prevention
▪ often▪ Keep common surfaces disinfected▪ Cough and sneeze into your arm, instead of your hand▪ If you are sick, stay home until your symptoms are gone and you feel well enough ▪ If you get flu-like symptoms and are pregnant, have underlying health problems or if your symptoms get worse, contact your health care provider.
Be Prepared
Make preparations to care for yourself and your loved ones. Make sure you have the
following items on hand:
▪ Pain and fever medication, like Tylenol or Advil, to treat fever and headaches▪ A thermometer▪ Extra supplies of any essential medication, like insulin for diabetics▪ Cleaning supplies, like household disinfectant,▪ Soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer to keep hands clean▪ Non perishable food, like canned soup and fruits and vegetables and liquids, like water and juice, in case you can’t get to the grocery store, Treatment
If you get flu-like symptoms and are pregnant or have underlying health problems contact
your healthcare provider.
If you get flu-like symptoms and are otherwise healthy, you should stay home to recover. If
your symptoms worsen or you experience difficulty breathing or serious shortness of breath,
it is important to seek medical attention.
Antivirals are drugs used for the early treatment of influenza. If taken shortly after getting
sick (within 48 hours), they can reduce influenza symptoms, shorten the length of illness
and potentially reduce the serious complications of influenza. Antivirals do not prevent you
from getting sick.
Canada has a National Antiviral Stockpile of 55 million doses of two antiviral drugs – Tamiflu
and Relenza. Both are effective in treating H1N1 flu virus. This stockpile is enough for all
Canadians who will need and want treatment.
Antivirals are recommended for the treatment of moderate to severe illness, and for people
at risk of severe disease. Your doctor will decide if treatment is right for you.
Influenza vaccines (also called flu shots) help you to prevent getting sick by introducing
your body to a weakened or dead version of the virus to teach your body to build immunity
to it.
This year, there will be vaccines for both types of flu – one for the regular seasonal
influenza, and one for the H1N1 flu virus.
Canada has a contract in place with GlaxoSmithKline to produce 50.4 million doses of H1N1
flu virus vaccine. This is enough vaccine for all Canadians who need and want protection.
The vaccine is expected to be available in November 2009. Once the vaccine is approved for
use, the Government of Canada will make recommendations on how many doses will be
For more information
Call the H1N1 flu hotline at 1-800-454-8302


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