H1N1 (Swine) Flu Emergency Preparedness
Prevention and Treatment
What can I do to protect
myself from getting sick?
Get a seasonal flu shot when the vaccine becomes available in early fall. At this time, a vaccine is being developed for novel H1N1 virus, but it may not be available until mid October. This makes ordinary precautions such as washing hands and covering coughs all the more important.
Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- Cough into your elbow. Or-cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Clean your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with sick people.
- Stay home if you are sick. This helps prevent infecting others and spreading the virus.
- Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so: a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues and other related items might could be useful and help avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and contagious.
What is the best
technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. CDC recommends that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
How long can influenza virus
remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?
Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.
What surfaces are
most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, a computer or athletic equipment for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
Exposures NOT thought to spread Novel H1N1 Flu
Novel H1N1 viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get infected with novel H1N1 virus from eating pork or pork products.
Tap water that has been treated by conventional disinfection processes does not likely pose a risk for transmission of influenza viruses.
Recreational water (swimming pools, spas, water parks, fountains) that has been treated does not likely pose a risk for transmission of influenza viruses.