Health officials report that the H1N1 flu is now widespread in most communities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the H1N1 flu is the likely cause of 99 percent of all flu-like illnesses in recent months.
The H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, is transmitted and treated in the same manner as the seasonal flu. Symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to those of regular flu, but are often milder.
Since most people have not yet developed immunity to the H1N1 flu, more people are likely to be sickened with this strain.
The Northeast Health District Office of Emergency Preparedness advises businesses and schools to consider ways to remain open in the event of high absenteeism. Officials recommend covering coughs and sneezes. Officials continue to emphasize the importance of washing hands before touching the eyes, nose or mouth and immediately before eating.
Most people sickened by H1N1 will recover by getting plenty of rest and drinking adequate amounts of fluids. Officials recommend those sickened with the flu stay at home to avoid transmitting the virus to others. Antiviral medications are recommended only for those at high risk for flu-related complications. Contact your doctor with questions or concerns about your symptoms.
Vaccinations for H1N1 are expected to be available beginning in October. The vaccinations are recommended for five target groups: pregnant women, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months old, healthcare and emergency services workers, all people six months through 24 years of age and persons 25 through 64 years old who have high risk health conditions. At this time, the risk of catching H1N1 flu seems less for people over 65 years than for other age groups.
Seasonal flu shots are currently available at county health departments for $25. Officials advise getting the seasonal flu shot to reduce the risk of being sickened by both types of influenza.