A&Q document from the Office of Public Affairs, DHHS.

Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Deportment of Health & Human Services
2009 H1N1 Flu Q&A
Updated August 3, 2009,
~- How worried is the U.S. government about the spread of this virus and what are you doing
to respond?
The flu is a serious illness, and the 2009 HlNl virus is a serious flu virus. We know that it
spreads among people easily and is affecting younger people disproportionately. We also know
that a number of people, many with underlying conditions, have died from this virus. We are
taking it very seriously, and the President and the Administration are active ly engaged in
combating the spread of Hl Nl and developing a national action plan that builds on the efforts
and lessons learned from this spring’s initial onset to prepare for the possibility of a serious fa ll
flu season.
We are closely monitoring the spread of the disease across this country and watching what is
happening in the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season has already begun. Our concern is
what will happen this fa ll when we head into flu season in this country, and we are monitoring
the HlNl virus to see how it evolves and whether it is expected to produce more severe
disease. So far the disease has been moderate, but Americans have died and many have fallen
As we prepare for the fall flu season, we will be working closely with our partners in the medical
community to develop, test, produce, distribute, and administer an HlNl flu vaccine and to
distribute and dispense antiviral medications for those who may require treatment for the
HlNl virus.
Q. What can I do to prevent the spread of illness?
All Americans share in the responsibility to plan for this fall’s flu season. Given the uniq ue
combination of regular seasonal flu, as well as the HlNl virus, it’s important for everyone to
take action to reduce the transmission of infl uenza. American families and businesses should
prepare their own household and business plans and think through the steps they will need to
take if a family member or a co-worker contracts the flu . We ask all Americans to visit our
website at FLU.GOV to find information that will he lp them take the necessary steps to pre pare
for flu season and limit the spread of the flu virus. Here are some everyday actions that you
and your family can take to stay healthy.
• Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school
and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in
the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially afte r you cough or sneeze.
Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

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