H1N1 Symptoms Plus Protection & Prevention

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Protect Yourself and Your Family against H1N1

What is It?

The H1N1 virus (initially called Swine flu) is a new strain of the influenza virus that has been spreading in the United States since April 2009.  As far as health officials know, it spreads from person to person just like the more common strains of influenza. Since June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization has considered H1N1 a pandemic.

Most people who are diagnosed with H1N1 recover without medical treatment. However, because medical authorities don’t know how it will behave during flu season, and because it has caused severe illness and death in a few cases, please exercise caution.

How do I get it?

That’s where we are in familiar territory. The H1N1 virus spreads the way seasonal influenza does – an infected person coughs or sneezes, you touch an infected surface or hand (or get coughed or sneezed on) and then touch your mouth or eyes or anything else that isn’t protected by that first component of your immune system, your skin. Since you can’t go around in a bubble for the duration of flu season, it’s important to wash your hands often, avoid touching your mouth, eyes, etc., and cover coughs and sneezes just in case.

If you do become infected, realize that you can spread the virus even after your symptoms are gone. Continue to wash your hands, cover your mouth, and avoid close contact for a few days after you start to feel better.

How do I know if I have it?

The symptoms of H1N1 are similar to seasonal flu symptoms, and include fever, cough, runny nose, aches, chills, and fatigue. In some cases, people reported diarrhea and vomiting.  If you experience these symptoms, check with your doctor and try to avoid going out in public.

What are the differences between the symptoms of a cold and the H1N1 virus?

The following table can also help you tell the difference between a common cold and H1N1 Flu:

Symptom Cold H1N1 Flu
Fever Fever is rare with a cold Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100 degrees Farenheight or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.
Coughing A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).
Aches Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.
Stuffy Nose Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
Chills Chills are uncommon with a cold. 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.
Tiredness Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden Symptoms Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
Headache A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore Throat Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.
Chest Discomfort Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

Of course, if you’re unsure if you have the flu, it’s best to consult with your physician.

What can I do to prevent it?

When and where available, H1N1 vaccinations are a recommended precaution you can take. However, there are several everyday things you can do to reduce your risk of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Throw tissues in the trash after you use them. (Please don’t leave your used tissues on the dining room table. It’s gross and a health risk.)
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers. During the spring there was a run on these, so you may want to pick up a bottle just in case.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth (especially after bowling, because we are really not sure about what’s growing in the bowling ball holes) to avoid spreading germs.
  • We know that you love sick people and want to take them chicken soup, but just push it through the mail slot or something. Keep you distance until they’re better.
  • If you get sick, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks, and we recommend you avoid hugging the people who want to bring you chicken soup.
  • Stock up on the medicine, tissues and hand sanitizers you might need now so that you don’t have to go out in public once you get sick. These are good things to have on hand anyway, and if you’ve already got them you won’t risk infecting the rest of us.

H1N1 Fears Lead To Rush On Tamiflu

H1N1 fears lead to rush on Tamiflu

Parents are scrambling to find the liquid medicine for their kids

Original Article by Rob SteinBuy Tamiflu Here

The Washington Post

Posted @ 7:26 a.m. CT, Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reprinted here due to expiration of original post:

 

Then it was the quest for the vaccine. Now, as increasing numbers of children are coming down with swine flu, more parents are facing yet another anxiety-provoking chase: the hunt for liquid Tamiflu for kids.

Spot shortages of the liquid form of the medicine are forcing mothers and fathers to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy, often late into the evening after getting a diagnosis and prescription from a pediatrician, in search of the syrupy concoction recommended for the youngest victims of the global pandemic.

“It was so frustrating,” said Cheryl Copeland of Silver Spring, who finally found some of the elusive medication for her sick 5-year-old son, William, at an independent drug store Monday after being turned away by a CVS and Rite Aid. “There was a moment when the first pharmacist said, ‘We don’t have it. There’s been a run on it,’ When I said to myself, ‘Where on Earth am I going to find it?’ “

The drug can make the flu milder, go away more quickly and may cut the risk of serious, potentially life-threatening complications. The shortages are being caused by a surge in demand because of the second wave of swine flu sweeping the country, combined with a decision by the Swiss company that makes the medication to focus on producing the drug in capsules.

In response, the federal government has shipped hundreds of thousands of courses to states from the Strategic National Stockpile, which is on standby in case there are bioterrorism attacks or natural disease outbreaks. Officials have also instructed doctors to suggest that pharmacists break open capsules and mix the powdered contents with syrup to make a liquefied version for children on their own if the company’s version is unavailable.

‘Patients are getting treated’
The Food and Drug Administration and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also posted the formula for pharmacists to follow, including guidelines for the correct dosing by each child’s weight.

Taken together, federal health officials are confident that there is enough Tamiflu available in the capsule or liquid forms to make sure children can get treated promptly.

“For the most part, patients, are getting treated,” said Greg Burel, director of the CDC’s division of the Strategic National Stockpile. “There have been shortages in sporadic spots, but generally it’s still available.”

Roche, the manufacturer, is still producing the liquid form of the medication. But after consulting with U.S. and World Health Organization officials, the firm decided to focus on the capsules when it ramped up production to meet an expected surge in demand after the H1N1 virus emerged in the spring. That allows it to produce 25 times the amount of medication it would have otherwise, officials said.

“The bottom line is looking at how the company could ramp up as quickly as possible to get as much medicine out as possible. This was the best way to do it,” said company spokeswoman Kristina Becker, noting that the company has been increasing production capacity in 2005 since the ominous avian flu virus emerged in Asia.

The company also makes lower-dose capsules that children can take or parents can open themselves to mix the powder with a sweetened liquid to help them take it. But they should do this carefully following a doctor’s instructions to ensure the proper dose, officials said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released 300,000 doses of the liquid formulation from the national stockpile earlier this month, including some doses that had to be tested by FDA to make sure they were still potent because their expiration dates had expired.

“We believe the shortage may become more severe as the disease progresses in coming weeks,” Burel said. “So what we tried to do is take steps to fill a potential gap.”

Anxious hours for parents
But the spot shortages are creating anxious hours for many parents, especially because children appear to be among those at greatest risk from the disease. While the overwhelming majority of children who get swine flu recover, nearly 100 children have died from the disease so far this year, which is about double the number that die from the flu in a typical winter. The antiviral medication, also known as oseltamivir, along with another called zanamivir or Relenza, is highly effective, especially when administered within the first 48 hours of developing symptoms.

“The earlier the better,” said Tim Uyeki, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC’s influenza division. “Antiviral treatment should be started as quickly as possible.”

In fact, in response to the pandemic the FDA issued a special emergency authorization in April allowing the use of Tamiflu for children younger than age 1. But many infants, and many other young children, can only swallow the liquid form of Tamiflu.

‘It was pretty stressful’
Shelley Waters Boots of Silver Spring scrambled to find some liquid Tamiflu for her 2-year-old son, Carlin, who was prescribed the medication at Holy Cross Hospital last week after being diagnosed with the swine flu. Carlin is considered at high risk because of his asthma. The first seven pharmacies Boots tried did not have it, prompting her to start frantically calling relatives in New York, Florida and California before finally finding the medicine at the same pharmacy where Copeland did.

“I was like, ‘Thank god!’ It was pretty stressful,” Waters Boots said. “They said it was so important to get it in the next 48 hours. So that night before I found it I was freaking out.”

The Kensington Pharmacy, which filled the prescriptions for Copeland and Boots, has been getting requests for 10 to 15 prescriptions a day.

“The formula is very simple,” Tunc Husseyin, the pharmacy’s owner, adding, however, that the process was more time-consuming than filling a typical prescription. “A lot of other pharmacies are calling us to see if we make it and sending us their patients.”

Stores still experiencing shortages
Major drug store chains, including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Wal-Mart, say pharmacists at all their stores can prepare the liquid form of the medication individually, a process known as “compounding.” But several of the national chains said that some of their stores were still experiencing spot shortages if they ran low on the capsules or the syrup, which is made by two companies that have been racing to keep up with demand as well.

In some cases, pharmacies have run low because of sudden outbreaks, such as what recently occurred in Crystal Lake, Ill.

“All of a sudden you have hundreds of kids out of school and we couldn’t anticipate hundreds of prescriptions coming in within several hours,” said James Cohn, a Walgreens spokesman. “Within 24 hours or so we are able to get supplies back into the location. But over time we’re seeing more and more instances where there have been shortages.”

Combined with her hunt for vaccine for her son and daughter, who also got the flu, Boots was frustrated by the government’s response to the pandemic.

“We’ve been too little too late on both counts,” she said. “It’s the same story.”

H1N1 Virus – Swine Flu Resources & Tips

H1N1-pandemic-logoInformation within the ever-changing world of the H1N1 epidemic pandemic needs a place for resources to turn to for assistance as well as a place to answer questions about this particular virus. The links below should help keep you informed with up to date information and news sources on the Swine Flu pandemic as well as tips on how to deal with it when you find yourself surrounded by it.

All of the listings in the next section just below are links to posts within this website.Swine Flu_Fears

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H1N1 Fears Lead to Rush on Tamiflu

Parents are scrambling to find the liquid medicine for their kids

TAMIFLUThe medicine Tamiflu can make the flu milder, go away more quickly and may cut the risk of serious, potentially life-threatening complications. But some parents are having a tough time finding the liquid version to treat their young children…..

…article continues here [LINK] —> from MSNBC/Washington Post [28 October 2009]

* Update – The LINK above is a re-posting of the original link that had already expired.

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Helpful Links:

  • AAP.orgAmerican Academy of Pediatrics

  • Flu.govA service of the US Depatment of Health and Human Services

  • FDAUS Food and Drug Administration

  • NIAIDNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

  • OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration

  • USDA United States Department of Agriculture

  • Medline PlusUS National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health

  • WHOWorld Health Organization

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The most current and updated information can be found at the website of the Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

Here is their link >>CDC

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World Health Organization (WHO) Declares Swine Flu Pandemic As It Raises Alert To Level 6 – First Pandemic In 41 Years

pandemicThe World Health Organization is raising its pandemic alert to phase 6, the top level on its six-point scale, to indicate a flu pandemic is under way, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said on Thursday, June 11, 2009.

“This means the world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century,” Chan told reporters.

Chan said the move reflected the geographic spread of the virus but did not indicate the severity of the influenza (A) H1N1 pandemic. She said the WHO’s global assessment was that the pandemic was moderate.world-health-organization-logo

She also said the WHO did not recommend closing borders and said there should not be restrictions on the movement of people, goods and services at this time.

Geneva, June 11, 2009 ~ (Reuters)  H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic

Tamiflu Strongly Urged by CDC For Pregnant Women Who Get Swine Flu

If you’re pregnant, you’re at such high risk of complications such as pneumonia, dehydration and premature labor that you should be treated at once with the antiviral drug Tamiflu — even though it is not normally recommended in pregnancy. Because a positive test for the new H1N1 flu can take days Tamiflu should be given to any pregnant patient with flu symptoms and a history of likely contact with someone else with swine flu.
Up until now, swine flu has not proven to be much more dangerous than seasonal influenza. It is not clear whether pregnant women catch swine flu more often than other people, but in general, the flu poses additional risks for pregnant women.

Pregnancy weakens a woman’s immune system so that she is more likely to suffer pneumonia when she catches the flu. In previous flu pandemics, infection also raised the risk of a premature birth claims the CDC.

Pregnant women with asthma and some other health conditions are particularly at risk for complications.

The Center For Disease Control streeses the need to get the word out about the likely benefits of prompt antiviral treatment” for pregnant women.

Still, the flu medicines’ effectiveness is somewhat limited, studies have shown. They can relieve symptoms and shorten the disease by about a day. They only work if started within 48 hours of first symptoms. Little is known about whether they cut the chances of serious flu complications.

Tamiflu is not normally recommended for use by pregnant women because the effects on the unborn child are unknown, according to Roche Laboratories, it’s creator.

The CDC and the World Health Organization said case histories in Mexico and the United States suggested that pregnancy was emerging as a risk factor rivaling asthma, diabetes, immuno-suppression and cardiovascular disease.

American doctors are reluctant to prescribe flu drugs for pregnant women unless they develop severe symptoms such as pneumonia, and pregnant women often are reluctant to take any medication. A pregnant woman is at higher risk from any flu because hormonal changes depress the immune system to protect the growing fetus.

The CDC recommendation emerged as it was becoming clear that the epidemic in the U.S. would mirror the epidemic in Mexico and similar rates of severe illness should be expected.
By contrast, the outbreak across Europe is spreading more slowly because the Europeans aggressively treat every suspected mild case with Tamiflu, health officials confirmed.

The U.S. now has more than 3,000 confirmed cases — two-thirds in people under 18 — but only 116 hospitalizations. Officials said they thought that the actual number of infections was much higher, and that infections were still occurring.

CDC officials said the swine flu may seem to be mild now, but they worried the virus would mutate into something more dangerous.

There is much that scientists are still learning about this flu. Many people suffering from swine flu — even those who are severely ill — do not have fever, an odd feature of the new virus that could increase the difficulty of controlling the epidemic, according to Richard Wenzel, a leading American infectious-disease expert who last week examined cases in Mexico.

Another concern is that it will combine with the seasonal flu virus that went around over the winter. That virus was not unusually virulent, but it was resistant to Tamiflu — the current first-line defense against the new swine flu.

If the two virus strains combine, it is possible that the swine flu will become resistant to Tamiflu as well, health officials worry.