H1N1 Flu

H1N1 vaccinations are now available at all locations nationwide for $18.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that vaccination is the most important thing you can do to protect you and your family from H1N1. Walgreens and Take Care Clinics are here to help you have a healthy new year.

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Please fill out the H1N1 Vaccine Informed Consent Form and bring it with you to the store.

Vaccinations are subject to availability and may be covered by your insurance. Federal, state, age and health-condition related restrictions may apply.

About

The 2009 H1N1 (sometimes called Swine flu) virus is a new type of virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United Sates in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza spreads.

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 flu was underway.

The virus was originally referred to as swine flu because many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America. But further study has shown additional genes from other virus carriers.

Vaccine

Vaccines are the best tool to prevent influenza. The seasonal flu vaccine is unlikely to provide protection against H1N1 influenza, and vice versa, the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace a seasonal flu shot.

H1N1 Vaccine Priority Populations

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that the vaccine be distributed to the following groups:

    • Pregnant women
    • Caregivers and household contacts of children less than 6 months of age
    • Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
    • Individuals from 6 months to 24 years of age Individuals from 25 through 64 years of age with health conditions that will put them at higher risk of influenza complications.

Walgreens asks for your cooperation during the initial vaccine distribution in order to ensure the needs of these priority populations be met first. The CDC doesn't expect a shortage of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, but in some instances, early supplies could be limited since demand can be somewhat unpredictable.

Symptoms

The symptoms associated with H1N1 flu closely resemble those of regular human flu. They include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with H1N1 flu have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you have symptoms, first consult with your health care provider and they will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

Additionally, if you experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:*

In children:

    • Fast breathing or troubled breathing
    • Bluish skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or interacting
    • Irritable and does not want to be held
    • Flu-like symptoms improve, but return with fever and cough
    • Fever with a rash

In adults:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting

Treatment

There are antiviral medicines available to treat and prevent H1N1 flu. The two antiviral drugs the CDC recommends for treatment of H1N1 flu are Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) and Relenza® (zanamivir). Both medications require a prescription.

Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

The seasonal vaccine for the human flu, Amantadine (brand name Symmetrel®) and Rimantadine (brand name Flumadine®) are not effective against the current strain of H1N1.

Prevention

There are simple everyday steps you can take to help prevent the spread of influenza:

    • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 10 to 15 seconds and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after you sneeze or cough.
    • Keep living or work areas clean by using household detergents (e.g. hand soap, dishwashing liquid) and sanitize surfaces with bleach or alcohol.
    • Avoid contact with others who are sick. If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Questions and Answers

Can I get H1N1 flu from eating or preparing pork?

No, H1N1 flu viruses are not spread by food and you cannot get H1N1 flu from consuming cooked pork products.

How can H1N1 flu be diagnosed?

A respiratory specimen would need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness. Identification as an H1N1 influenza A virus requires the specimen be sent to CDC for laboratory testing.

Can I give aspirin to my child or teenager who has the flu?

Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye s syndrome.

Teenagers with the flu can take medicines without aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin® trademarks), to relieve symptoms. Children younger than 2 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a health care provider.

How long am I infectious if I have influenza?

Children with influenza may be infectious for up to 10 days after illness onset with influenza, while adults are thought to be infectious for 5 to 7 days. Public health investigators are working to understand the precise length of infectiousness. If a child has been confirmed to have H1N1 influenza, then seek the advice of the child's health care provider and the health department about when the child can return to school.

*Sources

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/swineflu accessed April 28, 2009)

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm accessed October 9, 2009)

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm accessed October 9, 2009)