H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu. It’s called swine flu because in the past, the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. That changed several years ago, when a new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn’t been near pigs. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by one of many Influenza A viruses. Most commonly, swine flu is of the H1N1 influenza subtype. However, swine flu viruses can sometimes come from other subtypes, such as H1N2, H3N1, and H3N2.
The 2009 outbreak of swine flu that infected humans was of the H1N1 subtype. It is important to note that, although it developed in swine, the 2009 pandemic virus was not completely derived from swine. The virus contains a combination of flu genes from bird, swine, and human flu types.
The symptoms are similar of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by:
• Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
• Staying home from work or school if you are sick.
• A vaccine has been produced to protect humans against the H1N1 strain of swine flu. This was introduced following a pandemic of swine flu in 2009 and 2010.
• The status of swine flu has changed from a pandemic to a seasonal type of human influenza. The specialized vaccine has now been replaced by more general
seasonal flu shots.
• People who are over 10 years old only require one shot of the vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends two shots for children under
this age, to be taken four weeks apart.