Taking Care of Yourself If You Are Sick
If you have been diagnosed with H1N1 (swine) flu, you should stay home, follow your doctor’s orders, and watch for signs that you need immediate medical attention.
* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay at home until you have been free of fever (100°F or 37.8°C), or signs of a fever, for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication.
* Avoid close contact with others, especially those who might easily get the flu, such as people age 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, young children, and infants.
* Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especially after using tissues or coughing/sneezing into your hands.
* Cover coughs and sneezes.
* Wear a facemask when sharing common spaces with other household members to help prevent spreading the virus to others. This is especially important if other household members are at high risk for complications from influenza. See Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use to Reduce Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Transmission.
* Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages made for infants to prevent becoming dehydrated.
* Get plenty of rest.
* Get medical attention right away if you:
o Have difficulty breathing or chest pain
o Have purple or blue discoloration of your lips
o Are vomiting and unable to keep liquids down, or
o Show signs of dehydration, such as feeling dizzy when standing or being unable to urinate
Caring for a Sick Person at Home
If you are taking care of someone at home who has novel H1N1 flu, you should protect yourself and other people in the household.
* Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person. When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.
* If close contact with a sick individual is unavoidable, consider wearing a facemask or respirator, if available and tolerable. For more information, see Facemasks and Respirators Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use.
* Ask the person’s health care provider about any special care that might be needed, especially if the person is pregnant or has a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema.
* Ask the patient’s health care provider whether the patient or you, as the caregiver, should take antiviral medications.
* Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible, especially others who are at high risk of complications from influenza.
* Make sure everyone in the household cleans their hands often, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Ask your healthcare provider if household contacts of the sick person—particularly those contacts who may have chronic health conditions—should take antiviral medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) or zanamivir (Relenza®) to prevent getting the flu.
* Get medical care right away if the patient
o Has difficult breathing or chest pain
o Has purple or blue discoloration of the lips
o Is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
o Shows signs of dehydration, such as feeling dizzy when standing, being unable to urinate, or (in infants) crying without shedding tears
o Has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions), or
o Is less responsive than normal or becomes confused.