How to Handle the H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic (cont.)
Who gets the H1N1 swine flu vaccine first?
Everyone should get vaccinated, but a few groups have priority:
- Pregnant women
- Day-care providers and other caregivers of children
- Health-care workers and emergency medical personnel
- Kids and young adults 6 months to 24 years of age
- People 25-64 years of age who have medical conditions that increase the risk of flu complications, such as asthma
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
- avoid close contact with people who are sick with a fever and/or cough;
- try to confine an individual infected with swine flu to a spare
bedroom and consider wearing a face mask when you interact with them;
- wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water;
- use hand sanitizer gels if you can't wash your hands;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you've just washed your
- cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands as soon as
- engage in healthy habits;
- Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours a night).
- Eat healthy,
nutritious meals with lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise most days of the
- if you start to feel sick, go home and stay home until you can
get in to see your doctor.
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
- store extra supplies of food, water, and nonprescription drugs, such as pain
relievers and cough and cold medications;
- create a plan to ensure you can get prescriptions;
- volunteer in your community to help assist in the event of an emergency;
- secure other means of transportation if you use public transportation;
- see if you can work from home and do not go into the office in the event
that you develop H1N1 swine flu;
- talk with teachers at your children's school for ideas on how to
keep them actively learning in case schools are forced to close for extended