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H1N1 Influenza Facts


If you think that the H1N1 virus is dying down this flu season think again. Just because you have not heard much about it in the media lately does not mean that you should not get your H1N1 flu vaccine. In fact, according to the Maricopa Department of Health, the cases of confirmed H1N1 have increased since last fall: 4,981 confirmed cases in Maricopa the week of October 25-31 versus 7,170 confirmed cases the week of January 24-30, and February is the peak of the flu season.

The H1N1 virus (also known as the “swine flu”) is a new strain of the influenza virus. Because most of the population has not been exposed to a similar strain of the virus in the past, many people are not immune to this strain. Certain people are at a higher risk of developing serious complications if they are exposed to the virus and have not been vaccinated. While the CDC is encouraging all people to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, it is very important for people in the following groups to do so: anyone with respiratory illness, diabetes, or a heart condition, or anyone that is pregnant. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These infected respiratory droplets then can infect others if someone touches an object with the virus on it, then touches their nose, eyes, or mouth. The influenza virus can survive and infect another person for 2-8 hours after being deposited on an object. Infected people are contagious from 1 day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick.

Symptoms of the flu are high fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. To protect yourself from getting sick, get the H1N1 influenza vaccine. Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, then cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, instead of into your hands. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you have the symptoms of the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

At Scottsdale Dental Arts, we want you to have a happy and healthy New Year!