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10 Things to Do Before You Get Swine Flu

Swine flu is out there; are you ready?
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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.

9. Put your doctor on speed dial. Nothing personal, but unless you've got a severe case or are a high-risk patient, they'd rather you didn't just show up in their offices, spreading your germs. Call ahead first; you might not need to come in.

10. Know when it's an emergency. Most cases of swine flu have been mild. But there have been hospitalizations and deaths, too. Learn the danger signs and seek immediate medical care if they arise. Children should get medical attention if they:

  • Have fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Have bluish or gray skin color
  • Are not drinking enough fluid
  • Are not waking up or not interacting
  • Have severe or persistent vomiting
  • Are so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Have flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough
  • Have fever with a rash
  • Have a fever and then have a seizure or sudden mental or behavioral change

Adults should seek urgent medical attention if they have:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then come back with worsening fever or cough

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Reviewed on July 14, 2010

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