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Backgrounder: Key facts about A/H1N1 flu

2009-10-29 15:27 BJT

Special Report: World tackles A/H1N1 flu |

Are there medicines to treat A/H1N1 flu?

Health authorities in some countries recommend the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. These antiviral drugs can keep flu viruses from reproducing in one's body and may also prevent serious flu complications.

How long can an infected person spread A/H1N1 flu to others?

People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to seven days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

Are there any precautionary measures against A/H1N1 flu?

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against A/H1N1 flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs causing respiratory illnesses like influenza, such as hand-washing with alcohol-based hand cleaners especially after coughing or sneezing and avoiding close contact with sick people.

If one gets sick with influenza, the patient is better to stay home from work or school and limit contact with others. Patients are also asked to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth through which germs spread.

What should one do if getting sick?

Patients are recommended to seek emergency medical care if experiencing any of the following warning signs:

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to beheld, flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, fever with a rash.

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: difficult breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting.

Can people get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. People cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua