Louisiana Office of Public Health
How do you catch swine flu?
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Spread of swine flu can occur in two ways:
Through contact with infected pigs or environments
Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-
to-human spread of swine flu has been documented also and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is
thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for
What is swine flu?
the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine
influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs
(pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping
caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu
flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick,
happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu,
antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel
but human infections can and do happen. Most commonly,
better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
human cases of swine flu happen in people who are around pigs
For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after
but it’s possible for swine flu viruses to spread from person to
getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be
In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection
considered potentially contagious as long as they are
with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in
symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness
Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Cases were
onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
CDC has determined that this virus is contagious and is
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine
spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it not
flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread
known how easily the virus spreads between people.
of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take
these everyday steps to protect your health:
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you
cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially
symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore
after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are
throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated
If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that
with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and
you stay home from work or school and limit contact with
respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu
others to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes,
infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a
worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How serious is swine flu infection?
What should I do if I get sick?
Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from
If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including
mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human
fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting
cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths
or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider,
occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In
particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your
September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant
health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or
woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after
being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu
outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with
more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and
other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care. In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• 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: • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Severe or persistent vomiting
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot
get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating
properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
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