H1N1, also known as the swine flu, first reared its ugly head in 2009. Similar to other flu strains, H1N1 is an infectious respiratory virus that can begin in your nose, throat, or lungs. It is highly contagious and can spread rapidly from person to person. When H1N1 first appeared, a global pandemic soon followed. As humans had little natural immunity to it, thousands across the globe became ill. The virus entered its post-pandemic phase in 2010, and is now one of several seasonal flu strains seen in Canada.
Why is H1N1 so serious?
Unlike other flu strains that mostly cause illness among the elderly, H1N1 doesn’t discriminate based on age, and many people in younger demographics are susceptible to the virus.
H1N1 flu (swine flu)
This page talks about H1N1 flu (swine flu), symptoms, warning signs, and treatment. It tells what to do if you think you have H1N1 flu.
2010 Update: On August 10th, 2010 the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 pandemic over and we are moving into a post-pandemic period. The seasonal flu will always be with us and it is important to get your annual flu shoti.
What is H1N1 flu (swine flu)?
H1N1 flu is a new kind of flu in humans. It's caused by a contagious virus. H1N1 flu infects the breathing tubes in your nose, throat, and lungs.
H1N1 flu has many names: it's also called swine flu, human swine flu, and influenza A H1N1.
H1N1 flu symptoms are similar to regular seasonal flu symptoms:
These symptoms usually come on quickly.
Warning signs of severe flu in children – get emergency help if kids show one or more of these signs
Warning signs of severe flu in adults – get emergency help right away if you have one or more of these signs
What should I do if I think I have H1N1 flu (swine flu)?
If you have mild flu symptoms, take care of yourself at home as you normally would.Follow these steps to take care of yourself at home. Call your doctor or health-care provider if you're not better feeling better after 2 days. They'll decide if you can take care of yourself at home, or if you need to see a doctor or come to the hospital. If you have these severe flu symptoms go to the emergency department right away or call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you have asthma, COPD or another flu risk factor and you get flu symptoms, call your doctor right away. Don't wait. Your doctor will decide if you need to take flu medicine (an anti-viral called Tamiflu®). Read more advice on H1N1 flu for people with asthma, COPD, and other lung diseases.
For people with mild cases of H1N1 flu, doctors probably won't give any prescription medicine. The treatment is just to stay home, stay away from other people, and take care of yourself. Mild H1N1 flu may go away on its own after a week or two.
If you have mild or moderate H1N1 flu (swine flu) symptoms, here's how to take care of yourself at home:
Read detailed advice on how to take care of a person with flu H1N1 (swine flu) at home, from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What can I expect if I go to the hospital with H1N1 flu (swine flu) symptoms?
If you go to the emergency room with flu symptoms:
What’s the treatment for severe H1N1 flu (swine flu)?
This is the treatment you may get if you’re in the hospital with severe H1N1 flu (swine flu):
Most people who catch H1N1 flu can take care of themselves at home; they will get better on their own in about two weeks. But some people get so sick from HN1 flu that they need to be treated in hospital. Some die from H1N1 flu.
These groups of people are more at risk for getting seriously sick from H1N1 flu. They are more likely to get flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections. If they have long-term (chronic) diseases, the flu can make their disease symptoms worse:
There is some evidence that people who smoke and people who are obese are also more likely to get seriously sick from H1N1 flu.