Most people who have become ill with the 2009 H1N1 virus have recovered without medical treatment. In some people, the flu can cause serious complications, including pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. Children and adults may develop sinus problems and ear infections.
Consult your health care provider if you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, if you are at high risk for complications of the flu or if you develop warning symptoms. Those at high risk for complications include pregnant women, young children, those with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people 65 years or older.
If you are otherwise healthy* and you develop flu-like symptoms, you should not go to your health care provider's office, clinic or an emergency department unless you develop warning symptoms or the flu symptoms go away and then return. You may call your health care provider to seek medical advice, but due to the short supply of antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu or Relenza, they are being reserved for those at high risk for complications from the flu.
*Healthy indicates persons who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.
The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus include:
Most healthy people recover from the flu without complications.
If you get the flu:
Most children with flu can be treated at home unless their symptoms worsen (learn more about warning symptoms). However, very young patients, those with underlying medical conditions and those living in homes with family members who are pregnant or have underlying conditions have been prescribed Tamiflu in accordance with national guidelines.
Tamiflu is a prescription medicine that acts on the flu virus to lessen the duration of illness. It should not be confused with the non-prescription brand name medicine Theraflu that is available for purchaseover the counter. In addition, some preparations of Theraflu have high doses of acetaminophen and may be unsuitable for children. The following outlines the difference between Tamiflu and Theraflu. Parents should consult with a pediatrician before giving the over-the-counter Theraflu to a child.
Please consult your pediatrician before giving your child Theraflu as many preparations of Theraflu have high doses of acetaminophen and may be unsuitable for children.
Seek medical care if you or someone you know is having any of following warning symptoms:
Seek medical care if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms above.
The flu usually spreads from person to person in respiratory droplets when people who are infected cough or sneeze. People occasionally may become infected by touching something with influenza virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
Since influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, stay home until at least 24 hours with no fever (and no use of fever-reducing medication). Avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others and maintain good cough etiquette.
Health care officials also recommend hand washing and cough etiquette as a way to prevent H1N1 and seasonal flu from spreading. Find out how you can reduce your risk.