H1N1- Swine Flu Symptoms
The symptoms of this virus are like many others. Monitor their symptoms and look for a
high fever over 101 degrees following a cold. Worsening cough is also a sign of Swine Flu.
If you are treating your child for flu, and their cough worsens, it is a symptom of the virus.2
· Look for a Rash
Look for a rash that accompanies the fever. This is an indication of Swine Flu
infection. The child may also have a blue color to their skin. This indicates a lack
of oxygen and requires immediate emergency care.
· Stops Drinking
If your child quits drinking fluids do not hesitate to rush them to the emergency
room. Dehydration is a killer for young children. In addition, if they have explosive
diarrhea or vomiting you should seek immediate emergency treatment.
· Breathing Problems
If they appear to be breathing quickly or having any shortness of breath, get
them help quickly. The faster you get emergency help in this situation, the more
likely they will suffer no adverse affects.
· Body Aches
If they act as if they are in pain when you hold them, or try to wriggle away
because they appear uncomfortable, it could indicate severe body pain. Get
them to a treatment facility immediately. This is an indication of a Swine Flu virus
· Flat Affect
If they are not maintaining eye contact, or appear flat in affectation this is a
warning sign of severe viral infection. Get to an emergency facility.
· Will Not Wake Up
Finally, if you are unable to wake your child, call an ambulance immediately. Do
not hesitate in this situation. Swine Flu is a deadly virus and can be treated with
antiviral medications such as Tamiflu so getting your child treated immediately
can save your child's life. The Swine Flu epidemic is likely to get worse before it
gets better and it is important to be aware of symptoms of the virus that may
require emergency care.
Q&A of Swine Flu
What can I do to protect myself from catching influenza A(H1N1)?
The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to
seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You
can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who show
influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and
taking the following measures:
· avoid touching your mouth and nose;
· clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol based
hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching the mouth and nose, or
surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
· avoid close contact with people who might be ill;
· reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
· improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
· practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and
keeping physically active.
What about using a mask? What does WHO recommend?
If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask.
If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact
with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and cleanse your hands
If you are sick and must travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose.
Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the
chance of spreading infection.
How do I know if I have influenza A(H1N1)?
You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A(H1N1)
without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and
include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your
medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A(H1N1).
What should I do if I think I have the illness?
If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:
· stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
· rest and take plenty of fluids;
· cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues,
make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after
with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
· if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth
as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
· use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around
others, but be sure to do so correctly;
· inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other
· If possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to
discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.
Should I take an antiviral now just in case I catch the new virus?
No. You should only take an antiviral, such as oseltamivir or zanamivir, if your health care
provider advises you to do so. Individuals should not buy medicines to prevent or fight this
new influenza without a prescription, and they should exercise caution in buying antivirals
over the Internet.
What about breastfeeding? Should I stop if I am ill?
No, not unless your health care provider advises it. Studies on other influenza infections
show that breastfeeding is most likely protective for babies - it passes on helpful maternal
immunities and lowers the risk of respiratory disease. Breastfeeding provides the best
overall nutrition for babies and increases their defense factors to fight illness.
When should someone seek medical care?
A person should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath or difficulty
breathing, or if a fever continues more than three days. For parents with a young child
who is ill, seek medical care if a child has fast or labored breathing, continuing fever or
convulsions (seizures).Supportive care at home - resting, drinking plenty of fluids and using
a pain reliever for aches - is adequate for recovery in most cases. (A non-aspirin pain
reliever should be used by children and young adults because of the risk of Reye's
Should I go to work if I have the flu but am feeling OK?
No. Whether you have influenza A(H1N1) or a seasonal influenza, you should stay home
and away from work through the duration of your symptoms. This is a precaution that
can protect your work colleagues and others.
Can I travel?
If you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of influenza, you should not travel. If you have
any doubts about your health, you should check with your health care provider.
The Union Government has identified the Communicable Disease Hospital, 87, T.H. Road,
Tondiarpet, as the isolation facility, specifically for testing suspected swine flu patients in
Chennai. The government has set up a screening facility at the Chennai International
Airport for all the inbound passengers to prevent the spread of H1N1. Doctors from the
Hospital are round the clock screening the passengers at the Airport.
A confirmed case of swine flu infection is a person with an acute respiratory illness with
laboratory confirmed swine flu infection by one or more of the following tests:
Two laboratories in Tamil Nadu — Kings Institute of Preventive Medicine and Christian
Medical College, Vellore — and JIPMER in Puducherry are authorised to screen people
for the infection. Throat swabs will be sent to the National Institute of Communicable
Diseases, New Delhi and the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for verification.
More information can be found in the following links:
www.mohfw.nic.in and www.nicd.nic.in