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Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs that carry the Type A influenza (H1N1) virus. Cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses have been reported in the U.S. and in other countries. The virus is contagious and can spread from person to person.
Swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to spread in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are transmitted mainly from person to person through exposure to coughing and/or sneezing of people with influenza illness. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to regular human flu and include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue. Some patients have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.
There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. If you get sick, you may be contagious one day before symptoms appear and for approximately seven days after becoming ill.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have identified ways to stay healthy and guard against this flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
APIC reminds everyone: Do Not visit patients in the hospital or any other healthcare facility if you think you may have the flu.
APIC is working closely with the CDC and other healthcare organizations to educate and inform the public of their risk of infection. If you are visiting a hospital facility and have questions about your risk of infection, ask to speak to the infection preventionist – healthcare professionals on staff at the facility who are specially trained in infection prevention and control and who direct interventions that protect patients from infections.