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How should I care for someone with swine flu?

You should care for someone with the swine flu, which is caused by the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus, just as you would someone with regular flu. Make sure the ill person stays home, drinks plenty of fluids and eats enough. Be on the lookout for signs of serious complications: If the person develops a high fever, becomes dehydrated or can't eat, call the doctor. He or she may prescribe an antiviral medication and can advise you on whether emergency care is needed.

Take care of yourself, too. If you haven't had a flu shot, get one: It will protect you against H1N1 (as well as two other strains of seasonal flu virus). Wash your hands frequently.

If someone in your care has swine flu (H1N1), you need to make sure that he or she gets enough rest and drinks fluids throughout the day. You can use over-the-counter medications as directed to relieve symptoms such as congestion, headache, and fever. For example, decongestants relieve congestion and ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve the fever, headache, and body aches of the flu. (Don't give aspirin products to children to avoid the risk of Reye's syndrome, which is rare but potentially deadly.) Prescription medications from the doctor must be given as instructed. Be alert for signs that the person you are caring for is developing complications of swine flu. Warning signs that you should take the person to the doctor include severe cough or vomiting, high fever, breathing problems such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain when breathing, or signs of dehydration. If the person has these symptoms, take him or her to a doctor right away. If you are caring for a child, take him or her to the doctor if they seem to have problems breathing, are breathing too quickly, have a blue cast to the lips or skin, seem unusually drowsy or irritable, or develop a rash.

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Important: 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.