What to do if you suspect H1N1 flu
The H1N1 symptoms are virtually the same as other seasonal-flu symptoms — such as a high fever, a cough, a sore throat and muscle aches. So when should you contact your physician? To find out, we spoke with two highly rated doctors.
Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, medical director of urgent care for The Everett Clinic in Washington, says people under 25 and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to swine flu complications.
"Any pregnant woman with flu-like symptoms should call their doctor immediately," he says. "They are at the highest risk."
Infants with high temperatures and children and young adults with underlying health issues, or who take medication that compromises their immune system, also should be seen by their doctor.
Tu adds that anyone who has flu-like symptoms and becomes severely dehydrated, experiences difficulty breathing or coughs up blood, must seek attention.
"If you have a fever for more than four days and it subsides then comes back, make sure to contact your health provider," he says. "You could have developed pneumonia."
Children and adults who are at high risk and possibly have H1N1 may be tested by their doctor for the virus.
"If your child has asthma, renal or heart disease, or is taking steroids, they should be tested," says Dr. Ellen S. Rome, head of adolescent medicine for the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
If you aren't in the high-risk population or don't experience the severe symptoms mentioned above, Rome says it's best to just remain at home to prevent spreading the virus.
"Stay in bed, get plenty of sleep, get lots of fluids and take Tylenol or Motrin to get the fever down," she says.