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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Swine Flu Glossary

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Swine flu symptoms: They’re a lot like those that come with regular flu: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people with swine flu also have diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms may be worse if you have another long-term illness.

Swine influenza: A highly contagious disease caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus called H1N1. Swine flu used to only affect pigs, or, rarely, people who spent a lot of time around pigs. In 2009 a strain began to spread from person to person.

Swine flu treatment : Certain antiviral drugs can ease the symptoms and help you get better faster. The CDC recommends zanamivir (Relenza), peramivir (Rapivab), or oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to treat and prevent this illness. The drugs may also help you avoid complications. They work best if you take them within 48 hours of the first symptoms.

Swine flu virus: A virus found in pigs that causes swine influenza. The swine flu virus is different from the human type. There are many different strains of swine flu virus (such as H1N1 and H3N2). H1N1 is the most common. Usually, a swine flu virus infects only pigs, or in rare cases, those around pigs. But in 2009, it began to spread from person to person.

Tamiflu (oseltamivir): An antiviral medicine that prevents and treats influenza types A (including the swine flu) and B. It stops the virus from spreading in your body. This eases your symptoms and helps you get better faster. Anyone 1 year or older can take this drug to treat the flu. Anyone 2 weeks or older can get it to prevent the flu.

Threat level: An alert system that the World Health Organization (see below) uses to let the public know about global health events. The scale ranges from phase 1 (low risk for a pandemic) to phase 6 (full-blown pandemic under way).

Travel restrictions: Guidelines from worldwide health agencies that let you know when travel, like flying, to certain areas may put you at risk for disease. For example, in late April 2009, the CDC said people should only travel to Mexico if it was very important and not for vacation. This helped stop the spread of swine flu.

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