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Information for the Public

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You can use the following links to obtain information about the avian or bird flu, flu pandemics and useful prevention tips to protect your family.

Flu Prevention Tips

Pandemic Flu Facts

Glossary of Terms

H1N1 Flu Guidance for Community and Faith-based Organizations [PDF - 4MB]

Frequently Asked Questions (September 2009)

What is 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) and how does it spread?

There are many types of influenza or “flu.” 

  • A new strain of influenza A (H1N1) began spreading worldwide among people in spring 2009.
  • This flu virus is sometimes called "swine flu."
  • 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) spreads the same way the seasonal flu virus does, through droplets from the coughing or sneezing of infected people. It also spreads by touching objects a sick person touched and then touching the nose or mouth.

When did 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) become a pandemic?

  • A flu pandemic is caused by a new flu virus that people have not been exposed to before. The flu virus spreads quickly from person to person.
  • The first human cases of this outbreak in the U.S. occurred in late March and early April 2009. Kentucky's first case was reported in late April. The World Health Organization declared 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) a pandemic in June 2009.

Who is at risk from 2009 H1N1 (swine flu)?

Because 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) is a new flu virus that people have not been exposed to before most people can catch it.
The risk for infection among people 65 or older appears to be less than the risk for younger people, possibly because they were exposed to a similar flu virus in the past.

What are the signs and symptoms of 2009 H1N1 (swine flu)?

  • Sudden onset of illness
  • Fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported by some

What can people do to prevent 2009 H1N1 (swine flu)?

The same steps you take to prevent the common cold apply when trying to prevent swine flu. The following are some general steps families can take:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use waterless, alcohol-based hand cleaners.
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a handkerchief or tissue when sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep children home from school, child care or other social gatherings if they are sick. Children should not return to school or child care until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
  • Stay home from work or other public settings if you are sick.
  • Avoid crowded places where people are confined in an indoor space.
  • Get the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as soon as it is available, if recommended by your health care provider.

If people are sick with 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) what should they do?

Since the severity of 2009 H1N1 is similar to seasonal flu, people who are sick with 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) should do the same things they would do if sick with seasonal flu:

  • If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
  • If you have a fever, difficulty breathing, a cough, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, you should talk with a health care provider by telephone.
  • Your health care provider will determine whether testing or treatment is needed.
  • Before visiting a health care setting, tell the provider about your symptoms.
  • Do not travel or go to work or school while sick, and limit your contact with others as much as possible to help prevent the spread of illness. Stay home from work or school until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours.

When should someone seek professional treatment?

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting


Last Updated 10/23/2009