The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has announced that vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 virus, first identified in April 2009, will be included in the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine this fall. As a result, most Americans will be able to return to the traditional routine of having one flu vaccine to protect themselves against the major circulating flu viruses. Younger children who have never had a seasonal vaccine will still need two doses.
The first line of defense in preventing both the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu is in your hands. You should continue to use good hygiene practices year-round to help reduce the spread of infection, including:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Avoid contact with people that might be sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
Flu vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself and others from both seasonal and H1N1 flu. Get a seasonal flu vaccination and an H1N1 flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available in your community. Click here for City of Houston Vaccine Clinic Locations.
You may have the flu if you have some or all of the following symptoms:
- Fever (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
If you think you have the flu:
- Stay home and away from other people as much as possible; cover your nose and mouth if you must be around other people (facemask or tissue).
- Unless you are in a high-risk category (a young child, pregnant, have certain underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes or a weakened immune system, or are 65 years and older), take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and drink plenty of fluids.
- Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- Most people get better without treatment and don’t need to seek medical help. However, if you are in a high-risk category, consult with your health care provider if you get flu symptoms.
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