Flu Season Is Here — Are You Ready?
To help reduce the spread of germs,
you should use a tissue when
coughing or sneezing, then clean
This year’s flu season is different from years past. Not only does everyone have to remember to get their seasonal flu shot, but many people, including those with cystic fibrosis who are “at high risk,” also have to get vaccinated for the new H1N1 flu.
H1N1 flu is the specific type of virus that is causing the current flu pandemic, or worldwide infection. It has also been called “swine flu.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the 2009 H1N1 flu virus spreads easily between people. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of chronic medical conditions, like cystic fibrosis.
If you have CF and you or your child with CF have the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention: fast breathing or trouble breathing, not waking up or interacting, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion.
Reducing Your Risk
People with CF and those who live in the same household are encouraged to:
- Get the H1N1 flu vaccine.
- Based on information from the CDC, the CF Foundation and its Influenza Advisory Group have identified all people with CF and those who live in the same household as “high risk.” This means that people with CF and their household members should get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible.
- Get the seasonal flu vaccine.
- Minimize the spread of germs by:
- Cleaning your hands often with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand gels.
- Using a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then cleaning your hands.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth since germs are spread that way.
- Staying away from others if you are ill.
- Watch for symptoms of the flu and if they appear, call your doctor. Symptoms include:
- Body aches and headache
- Fever and chills
- Increased cough
- Sore throat
- If you get a fever, call your doctor immediately – whether you have received the H1N1 vaccine or not. A fever is defined as 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.
If your doctor thinks you have influenza, he may treat you with Tamiflu® to reduce the severity and duration of your infection.
Getting the Vaccine
Production of the H1N1 vaccine has been slower than expected. However, distribution of the H1N1 flu vaccine is underway in all states.
To find out where you can get the H1N1 vaccination:
Please note, the fastest way to get the H1N1 vaccine may not be through your CF care center.
- Call your primary care physician and ask if they are offering the H1N1 vaccine.
- Call your CF care center and ask if they are offering the H1N1 vaccine.
- Refer to the H1N1 flu map for state-specific information on H1N1 flu vaccination or find your State Health Department to get local information.
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