Swine Flu (Swine Influenza A (H1N1)): Taking Care of a Sick Person
in Your Home
What are the symptoms of swine flu?
Swine influenza A virus infection (swine flu) can cause
a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat,
body aches, headache,
chills and fatigue.
Some people have reported diarrhea and
vomiting associated with swine flu.
People with swine flu also can have vomiting and diarrhea. Like seasonal flu,
swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Severe disease
with pneumonia, respiratory failure
and even death is possible with swine flu infection. Certain groups might be
more likely to develop a severe illness from swine flu infection, such as
persons with chronic medical conditions. Sometimes
bacterial infections may occur at the same time as or after infection with
influenza viruses and lead to
pneumonias, ear infections, or sinus infections.
The Latest on
H1N1 Swine Flu
Learn about H1N1 swine flu:
The following information can help you provide safer care at home for sick
persons during a flu pandemic.
How Swine Flu Spreads
The main way that influenza viruses are thought to
spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. This can happen when
droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected
person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may
also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or
an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or
nose) before washing their hands.
People with swine flu who are cared for at home should:
- check with their health care provider about any
special care they might need if they are pregnant or have a health condition
such as diabetes,
- check with their health care provider about whether they should take
- stay home for 7 days after the start of illness and fever is gone
- get plenty of rest
- drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports
beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated
- cover coughs and sneezes. Clean hands with soap and water or an
alcohol-based hand rub often and especially after using tissues and after
coughing or sneezing into hands.
- avoid close contact with others – do not go to work or school while ill
- be watchful for emergency warning signs (see below)
that might indicate you
need to seek medical attention