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You may be diagnosed with H1N1 based on your symptoms, or you may be asked for a nasal swab or blood test, which will be sent to the laboratory for testing for H1N1.
Most people with moderate to severe H1N1 can be treated with antiviral drugs. Anitiviral drugs are prescribed to reduce the length of symptoms and their severity.
Two types of antiviral that are prescribed:
Other treatment for H1N1 symptoms include:
- Isolate - Stay home and limited the number of people that visit (especially people that have chronic medical conditions)
- Contact your Flu Buddy (Someone that can collect medication or get supplies if you become unwell)
- Take paracetamol and paracetamol-based cold remedies can also be used to ease body aches
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Eat small frequent meals
- Get plenty of rest
- Antiviral for pregnant women: Relenze is recommended as first choice for pregnant women because it easily reaches the throat and lungs where it is needed and does not reach significant levels of the blood or placenta.
Hospital patients with influenza H1N1 will be put into isolation; this means they will be placed in a room on their own.
H1N1 and seasonal flu are viruses. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. Your Doctor will only prescribe you antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection.
Prevention and protection
There are vaccinations available to prevent contracting Influenza H1N1. If you are in a high risk group speak to your GP, Practice Nurse, or NHS Direct before getting the H1N1 vaccination.
There are also practices which can help reduce the spread of all viruses, including influenza H1N1. These include:
- Call family and friends and make a list of possible Flu Buddies.
- Stay in bed
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Using a tissue and throwing away dirty tissues promptly and carefully. CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT (DH Campaign)
- Maintain good hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water and use alcohol gels to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face or to other people
- Teach and encourage children to wash their hands thoroughly
- Clean hard surfaces (e.g. handles) regularly using household cleaning products
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- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.
- DH information leaflet www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_178687.pdf
- E- Bugs website
- Swine flu factsheet for junior school www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1236069362364
- NHS Choices website Swine Flu