What is H1N1 Flu?

Commonly known as swine flu, 2009 H1N1 Flu is an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease. The virus is spreading from person to person worldwide, similar to the way regular seasonal flu viruses spread. 

How is Novel H1N1 Flu transmitted?

Like the seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu strain has been shown to be transmitted directly from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing and by touching contaminated items, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.


  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people.
  • Cover your nose & mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Discard the tissue after using.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. See "Hands Together" in the related information section for a CDC video on correct hand-washing techniques.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Regularly disinfect communal areas & any shared equipment.
  • Get vaccinated for the seasonal flu.
  • Get vaccinated for H1N1 when the vaccine becomes available to you.

What do I do if I have symptoms?

The symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of the flu can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Tiredness 

If you have symptoms, stay home and away from others for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away without fever reducing medication. Consult your healthcare provider if you have chronic health conditions or if symptoms continue. 

Who should get H1N1 flu vaccine?

Certain groups at higher risk for complications from H1N1 flu are recommended to get the H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available (expected October 2009). These groups include:

  • Caregivers of children younger than six months
  • Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
  • People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People ages 25-64 years old with chronic health conditions (e.g. asthma, heart disease, diabetes) or compromised immune systems

How is H1N1 Flu treated?

H1N1 flu is treated in the same way as seasonal flu – with plenty of rest at home - away from work or school to avoid exposing others. Drinking plenty of fluids and taking fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) are also recommended. Individuals with chronic health conditions (e.g., asthma, heart disease, diabetes) or compromised immune systems should seek treatment from their health care provider if flu-like symptoms develop.