- Exposure to Swine Influenza (Swine Flu; Novel H1N1 influenza virus)
- You have no respiratory symptoms (i.e., cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat)
- Questions about Swine Influenza
Exposure (Close Contact) to Swine Influenza, is defined as:
- Household Close Contact: Living in the same house (household contacts) with a person with confirmed, probable, or suspected Swine Flu (H1N1).
- Other Close Contact (within 3 feet, 1 meter; touching distance) with a person with confirmed, probable, or suspected Swine Flu (H1N1). Examples of such close contact include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, carpooling, close conversation, performing a physical examination (relevant to health care providers), and any other direct contact with respiratory secretions of a person with Swine Flu.
General Information about Swine Flu (H1N1)
- Swine flu viruses normally do not infect humans. Cases of swine flu spread from pigs to humans in Mexico during March 2009. An outbreak of swine flu in humans occurred in the U.S. and Canada April 2009 and started spreading person-to-person.
- Incubation Period: After exposure, a person will come down with swine flu symptoms in 1 to 4 days. The longest incubation period is thought to be 7 days.
- Symptoms: The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of regular human influenza. The main symptoms are runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. Other common symptoms are muscle pain, headache and fatigue. Some people also have vomiting and diarrhea.
- Prognosis and Symptom Severity: Symptoms of swine flu can be mild to severe, just as with regular human influenza. Thus far in the US and Canada, the symptoms have generally been mild; it is hoped that complications will be uncommon and death will be rare.
- Complications: The worst complications are pneumonia and respiratory distress or failure. Complications are more likely to occur in certain high risk patients (see list below)
- Expected Course: The expected course will probably be similar to regular human influenza: fever for 2-3 days, runny/congested nose for 7-14 days, and the cough for 2-3 weeks.
- Contagiousness: The swine flu virus is spread via airborne droplet, from sneezing and coughing, just like other influenza viruses. It also can be transmitted by hands contaminated with secretions. Swine flu is NOT transmitted by eating pork.
- Contagious Period: A person is contagious for 1 day prior to and for 7 days after the onset of symptoms (e.g., fever, cough).
- Treatment - Antiviral Medications: See below.
- Prevention - Vaccine: Last winter’s human influenza vaccine offers no protection against the swine flu virus. A vaccine against swine flu is being developed; it will probably be available in Fall 2009.
Some individuals are at higher risk for complications like pneumonia. Individuals at HIGH RISK include:
- Persons 65 years and older
- Children younger than 5 years old
- Children and adolescents (less than 19 years old) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy (Reason: at risk for Reye's syndrome)
- Pregnant women
- Chronic medical conditions, including: cardiovascular (not hypertension), chronic pulmonary conditions (e.g., asthma, emphysema), immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, HIV), renal failure, hematologic (e.g., sickle cell disease) and diabetes mellitus.
- Residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities.
Anti-Viral Medications for Swine Flu
- Two medications licensed in the U.S. and Canada are believed to be effective against the swine influenza virus: zanamivir (Relenza), and oseltamavir (Tamiflu).
- Treatment: Treatment is recommended for symptomatic patients who require hospitalization and symptomatic patients at HIGH RISK for complications. Treatment is not generally recommended for influenza-like illness in most healthy patients. [May 9, 2009 CDC Interim Guidance on Antiviral Recommendation]
- Post-Exposure (Prevention): These medications can also be taken prophylactically to prevent illness. Two groups that may especially benefit from prophylaxis are [a] health care workers and [b] patients at higher risk of complications who have had a close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed Swine Flu.
- Reference: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/recommendations.aspx
Staying Home from Work and School
If not, see these topics
- Swine Flu exposure (Close Contact) in past 7 days and you have any respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, runny nose), use SWINE FLU
- COUGH and you have had no exposure (Close Contact), or your cough begins over 7 days after exposure
- COLD symptoms (e.g., runny nose, nasal congestion) and you have had no exposure (Close Contact), or your symptoms begin over 7 days after exposure
- SORE THROAT and you have had no exposure (Close Contact), or your soar throat begins over 7 days after exposure