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10 Things to Do Before You Get Swine Flu

Swine flu is out there; are you ready?
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

The H1N1 flu, commonly called swine flu, is expected to make many people sick this flu season. And if you're one of them, you're in for some serious at-home time, recovering and sparing other people from your germs. To make that time a little easier on yourself, consider taking these 10 steps now, before you come down with swine flu.

1. Make a backup plan. Let's say you get sick, or you need to take care of someone with swine flu. What's your plan for missing work, college, or school? Do you know your company's flu leave policy? If you're in school, how will you keep up with class work? Ask now, so you're not surprised later. 

Swine Flu Outbreak: Get the Facts

Swine Flu Slideshow

Learn more about the H1N1 swine flu and see what you can do to stay healthy.

View the slideshow.

2. Butter up your friends. You might need them as a "flu buddy" to help out while you're down with swine flu, especially if you live alone. If your social network has thinned, bolster it now.

3. Bolster your flu supply stockpile. How are you set for tissues and fever-reducing medicines? Do you have a thermometer to check your temperature? Don't forget about liquids so that you stay hydrated. And if you choose to use face masks if you get sick and can't avoid close contact with other people, remember that each face mask should only be used once, not over and over again.

4. Stock up on comfort foods. Check the fridge, pantry, and stack of order-in menus. Stock up on those special foods that comfort you when you're not feeling well -- tea, chicken noodle soup, crackers -- whatever works for you. The last thing you're going to feel like doing when you get swine flu is grocery shopping.

5. Be good to your hands. Even if you don't get swine flu, you'll be washing your hands a lot to help prevent catching it. Treat yourself to a really nice soap or gel, and lotion, too. You'll be lathering up a lot, so leave your hands feeling good, not raw, afterward.

6. Stock up on DVDs and books. But don't select ones that need tons of concentration. You're going to feel pretty rocky with swine flu, so it's not the time to tackle War and Peace.

7. Know your risk.Pregnant women, children and young adults, and people of any age with a chronic medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease) are more likely to have severe illness from swine flu. Read about swine flu and pregnancy and swine flu and chronic conditions, and be swift to seek care if you come down with flu-like symptoms.

8. Dig out your tape measure. If you get swine flu, you should stay at least 6 feet away from others to help them avoid getting sick. Check out how far away that is.

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