Flu and H1N1 Information Center
H1N1 Influenza Prevention
H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus remains active throughout the U.S. and its prevalence is expected to increase during the fall flu season. Signs and symptoms of H1N1 infection include fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat and body aches. There may also be vomiting or diarrhea.
This illness is caused by a virus and can pass easily from person to person by coughing, sneezing or touching things that are soiled with the virus. Treatment for most people includes fluids and rest. If you have any of the above symptoms, please contact your primary care physician before visiting the hospital for any reason.
- The single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of flu is to keep your hands clean by washing them or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer often.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
- At work, clean phones, keyboards, door knobs, etc. with disinfecting wipes.
- Sneeze and cough into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, instead of your hands.
- Dispose of tissue in the trash.
- Clean your hands immediately.
Conventional Flu Season
Influenza activity picks up in the fall every year. But it’s impossible to predict exactly how influenza virus will impact our communities this year, according to Dr. Sarah Haessler, hospital epidemiologist at Baystate Medical Center: “It could follow any number of paths.”
Regardless of the course of the coming flu season, hospital policies for infection control are well thought out and carefully implemented to keep patients, staff and visitors safe from the spread of contagious disease. “We’re ready for any scenario,” says Dr. Haessler.
Dr. Haessler adds that, while it’s important to be aware of the potentially serious complications of infectious diseases like the flu, keeping a level head is equally key. “If you wash your hands often, and use common sense if you’re around someone who is sick, there is no reason to worry or to alter your normal daily activities during flu season.”
- Ounce of prevention: Don’t visit hospital patients if you’re sick