H1N1: How bad is it really?

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H1N1: How bad is it really?
TAKE cover or carry on as normal?
02 July 2009

TAKE cover or carry on as normal?

If you’re confused, well, you are not alone, as Michael Jackson sang.

Here’s the skinny on the disease:

# Sick man in the mirror

Got fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue?

Then you might have caught the H1N1 virus.

Diarrhoea and vomiting have also been reported. Like seasonal flu, severe illnesses and death has occurred.

# Dangerous?

Singapore has had no deaths so far.

Younger people, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions appear to have increased risk of complications from H1N1 infection.

# Black or white?

Which is more severe: H1N1 flu or seasonal flu?

H1NI is highly contagious but mild so far.

# Way you make me feel

The H1N1 virus is spread mainly when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouths or noses.

# Leave me alone

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?

With seasonal flu, people may be contagious from one day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods. H1N1 behaves in the same way.

If infected, health authorities recommend that you stay at home for 7 days after the onset of illness or until at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer.

# Human nature

Continue with life as usual if you are well and have no symptoms of flu. But take some extra care by observing good personal hygiene at all times.

Go ahead and exercise and take part in activities.

If unwell, they should see a doctor, stay away from work, school or crowded places, and rest at home.

# Heal the world

Are there medicines to treat H1N1 infection?

Yes, Tamiflu and Relenza are effective. The earlier you take the medication after symptoms develop, the more effective it will be.

# Beat it

Just follow these simple steps:

1. Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw tissue in trash after use.

2. Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also effective.

3. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

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