H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) (cont.)
If you get sick:
- Talk to your doctor.
- If you are not at high risk for problems from the flu and do not have severe illness, your doctor may recommend that you take care of yourself at home.
- If you are at high risk or are very sick, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) to help you feel better faster and prevent problems caused by the flu. The sooner you start taking the medicine, the better it works.
- Get extra rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost from fever.
- Take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (such as Aleve) to relieve fever, headache, and body aches. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. Talk to your doctor before you give fever medicine to a baby who is 3 months old or younger. This is to make sure that a young baby's fever is not a sign of a serious illness.
- You may also sponge your body with lukewarm water to reduce fever. Do not use cold water or ice.
If you are infected with H1N1 flu, you can infect others starting 1 day before your symptoms start. It's also possible that you may infect others up to 12 days after you get sick, although most people are infectious for about 6 days.1 To avoid spreading the flu to others during this time:
- Stay home from school or work until you are feeling better and your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours. The fever needs to have gone away on its own without the help of medicine.
- Try to avoid being around other people. If you have to be around people (including those you live with), wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you can.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don't have a tissue, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use the bend in your arm, rather than using your hands.
- Wash your hands often, especially if you are coughing or sneezing.