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What is Influenza A (H1N1)?

2009 Influenza A (H1N1) (previously referred to as 'new strain of swine flu') is a new strain of the influenza virus that spreads from human to human.Influenza A (H1N1) is a viral respiratory disease that presents flu-like symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of infection?

The symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1) are similar to the symptoms of the seasonal flu.These symptoms can vary in severity from mild to severe,and include the following:

  • High fever (>38C)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness

What can I do to protect myself and others against the Influenza A (H1N1)?

Practice good personal hygiene and be socially responsible by:

  • Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, especially before touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Turning quickly away from anyone near you if you are about to cough or sneeze, and do not cough or sneeze at him/her
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue properly in the dust bin after use
  • Avoiding crowded places if you are unwell and wear a surgical mask to cover your nose and mouth
  • Staying home from work or school when you are sick
  • Using a serving spoon when sharing food at meal times.

Also, leading a healthy lifestyle helps to build up your immunity and protects you against infection.

  • Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Be active. Do 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week
  • Learn to relax and get enough sleep and rest
  • Do not smoke

Treatment

There are antiviral medications available to treat Influenza A (H1N1),such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).They fight against the Influenza A (H1N1) virus reproducing itself in the body. When taken early (within 2 days of the appearance of symptoms),these medicines may:

  • Reduce the severity of the infection with faster recovery from the illness
  • Prevent serious complications

If you have travelled to any Influenza A (H1N1) affected areas or have come in close contact with a person with Influenza A (H1N1) and have developed a fever (temperature >38oC) with either cough,runny nose or sore throat within 7 days after your return,please contact your doctor.

How does Influenza A (H1N1) spread among humans?

The spread of Influenza A (H1N1) is similar to the seasonal flu. It can be spread when an infected person coughs,sneezes or speaks.It can also be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches his or her nose or mouth.

Is Influenza A (H1N1) infection serious?

Influenza A (H1N1) in humans can range from mild illness to a serious, life-threatening illness. Deaths from pneumonia and respiratory failure have been reported with Influenza A (H1N1) infection.

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