How to Handle the H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic
By Laura Lee Bloor
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
What is a pandemic?
The H1N1 swine flu pandemic is another way of saying the H1N1 virus is a global disease outbreak. Pandemics are difficult to predict because several factors influence how destructive it can be. A flu pandemic's impact depends on
What preparedness plans have been developed for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic?
Millions of doses of flu vaccines have been developed to combat the spread of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Some come in the form of a regular flu shot injected subcutaneously and others are the FluMist nasal spray vaccine. Contact your doctor about getting the H1N1 swine flu vaccine.
For those who still contract H1N1 swine flu, the antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) may be prescribed. These drugs are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the start of H1N1 flu symptoms. Whether these are prescribed for treatment depends on each individual case; not everyone needs antiviral drugs. People can recover from swine flu without Tamiflu or Relenza.
Who gets the H1N1 swine flu vaccine first?
Everyone should get vaccinated, but a few groups have priority:
A few regulations apply to the H1N1 vaccines: The H1N1 nasal spray vaccine is only approved for healthy people 2-49 years of age. Also, the nasal spray is not approved for pregnant women, so they should get the flu shot. The H1N1 nasal spray vaccine is a live vaccine and should not be given to people taking certain medications that suppress the immune response.
How can I help prevent an H1N1 swine flu infection?
To protect yourself from swine flu and other flu viruses, you should
How can I prepare for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic?
To minimize the impact a global swine flu pandemic would have on your daily life, you can
What are other examples of pandemics?
Perhaps the most well-known and devastating pandemic is that of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Another well-known pandemic is the 1918 flu, also known as the Spanish flu, which killed between 40-50 million people.
Last Editorial Review: 10/29/2009
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