Childr Health Information

H1N1 Flu

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Topic: Diseases & Conditions

Getting the facts about H1N1flu (sometimes called Swine Flu) will help ease some of the anxiety about this illness and give you the information needed to best protect your child. Feel free to ask your health care provider to go over any information you do not understand.

 What is H1N1 flu?

H1N1 flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza. Although H1N1 flu (Swine Flu) is typically found in pigs, you cannot get H1N1flu from eating pork.

Is H1N1 flu contagious?

Yes. H1N1 flu can spread from human to human mainly by the coughing or sneezing of a sick person. The flu virus can also be spread by touching something with the virus on it and then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth.  H1N1 flu spreads in the same way as other flu viruses. Seasonal flu shots offer protection against H1N1 flu, along with another strain of type A influenza. People with H1N1 flu are contagious from one day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after.

 How can I protect my child from getting H1N1 flu?

 There are easy steps to take to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu:

  • Wash hands frequently.  Teach children to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.  Set a good example and do this yourself.
  • Teach children to cough and sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of their elbow. Do the same yourself.
  • Teach children to stay at least 6 feet away from people who are sick. Avoid crowds and public places.
  • Keep sick children at home including out of school or day care for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone (without the use of fever reducing medicine).

 What are the symptoms of H1N1 flu?

  •  Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills and fatigue
  • Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea

Young children may not have typical symptoms, but may have trouble breathing or not be as active as usual.  Children younger than 5 years are more likely to have serious illness than older children. Flu infections can be severe in children with a chronic medical condition.

What should I do if I think my child has H1N1 flu?

  • Call your child’s pediatrician or family doctor. Treatment is most effective if started within 48 hours.
  • If your child has a chronic medical condition, your doctor needs to be notified as soon as possible.

What is the treatment for H1N1 flu?

Treatment with antiviral medicine is most effective if started within 48 hours. Call your child’s doctor if you think your child has the flu. Care at home includes:

  • Have your child rest in bed or on the couch.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids like water or juice.
  • Give your child acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil or Motrin) for fever, aches and pains. Do not give your child aspirin or products that contain aspirin. This can cause Reyes syndrome. Talk to your child’s doctor about treatment for infants younger than 6 months of age.
  • Keep your child home from school or day care. They may feel bad for up to a week. It could take a few weeks before they feel completely better.

When is it an emergency?

Get emergency care if your child has any of the following:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting (not responding to your voice or making eye contact)
  • Being so irritable (cranky) that he or she does not want to be held
  • Not urinating (peeing) or no tears when crying
  • Symptoms improve, but soon return with worse cough and fever


This handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about H1N1 flu, please ask your child’s health care provider.

Additional information and resources are available in the Family Resource Center at Dayton Children's. The center is open Monday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm; Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm; Saturdays 9:00 am–2:00 pm. The center is closed on Sundays and holidays. Please call 937-641-3700 for more information.

CopyrightÓThe Children's Medical Center of Dayton.  This material is for educational purposes only.  It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children’s.

Developed:  2009

Revised:  2012

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2009
Corregido: 2012

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2009
Revised: 2012


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