the facts about the swine flu (H1N1 flu)

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

H1N1 virus is the scientific name for the swine virus.

You can not catch H1N1 virus from pork - or poultry either. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe. Swine flu is not spread by handling meat. Instead, it is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing and touching infected items such as doorknobs, remote controls, and refrigerator door handles.

Swine flu is more of a threat to certain groups - children under 2, pregnant women, people with health problems like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and kidney disease. Health care workers, teens, and young adults are also more vulnerable to swine flu.

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

The symptoms of H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

If an outbreak of swine flu hits your area before you are vaccinated, stay away from public gathering places like malls, sports events and churches. Remember to continuously wash or sanitize your hands when in a crowded area, especially before eating, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Wash your hands with soap and warm water. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used.

The CDC recommends that people with the H1N1 flu avoid contact with others as much as possible. If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. If you get the flu, you should not leave your home except to seek medical care.