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The best way to protect yourself from the H1N1 virus (also called swine flu) is to get the seasonal flu vaccine. The vaccine contains the three flu strains most likely to cause sickness each year. Every year since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the vaccine has included the H1N1 strain.
Beyond getting a flu shot, experts recommend protecting yourself by:
- washing your hands frequently with soap and water
- using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
- keeping your hands away from your eyes, mouth, and nose
- steering clear of anyone who is sick
Aside from a vaccine, protecting against the swine flu is similar to guarding against seasonal flu. Both viruses are spread from person to person through an uncovered cough or sneeze. So the easiest thing to do is cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, preferably with an elbow. Throw away used tissues immediately. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If someone in your household is sick, keep that person in one room of the house, wipe down surfaces with household disinfectant and make sure the rest of the household washes hands often. Any caregiver can wear a tight-fitting surgical mask to avoid the airborne virus and should be careful handling the sick person's laundry do not hug it close when carrying it. If you feel ill, quarantine yourself: no errands, school or work for seven days after symptoms begin, or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.