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What Everyone Needs to Know about Swine Influenza

View the full Swine Flu Bulletin here

What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses and can be spread from person-to-person.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
o Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
o Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
o Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
o If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

What are the symptoms of swine flu?
These symptoms are usually referred to as "flu-like symptoms."
o Fever (usually high)
o Headache
o Extreme tiredness
o Dry cough
o Sore throat
o Runny or stuffy nose
o Muscle aches
o Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

Are there medicines to treat the swine flu?
Yes.  CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu and Relenza for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine flu.  If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.  They may also prevent serious flu complications.  Your annual flu shot will NOT protect you from this type of flu. 
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following illness onset.  Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.