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Influenza A(H1N1)

Cork Institute of Technology is open as normal and assessments and teaching are taking place as scheduled. Do not panic, most people with the virus are recovering within a week and need no anti-viral medication.

WHAT IS THE INFLUENZA A(H1N1) VIRUS?

This is a new type of influenza or "flu" that is currently causing outbreaks of disease in people globally. It spreads mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Occasionally people may become infected by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, and then touching their own mouth or nose.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF INFLUENZA A(H1N1) VIRUS INFECTION?

The symptoms appear to be similar to that of regular human flu, and include, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, lethargy, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhoea and vomiting associated with the virus. Most individuals will recover from this virus without antiviral medication or hospitalisation.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INFLUENZA AH1N1) AND THE COMMON COLD?

The main difference is that symptoms of influenza come on rapidly and are typically accompanied by muscle aches and a fever. For a full list of differences, please see table below:

Symptoms Influenza A(H1N1) Common Cold

Onset

Sudden

Slow

Fever

Characteristically High ( ≥ 38° Celsius or 100° Fahrenheit )

Rare

Headache

Prominent

Rare

General Aches & Pain

Usual, often severe

Rare

Fatigue & Weakness

Can be prolonged for a number of weeks

Quite Mild

Extreme Exhaustion

Early & prominent

Never

Runny Nose

Common

Common

Sneezing

Common

Usual

Sore Throat

Common

Common

Cough

Common, can be severe

Mild to moderate, hacking cough

Diarrhoea, vomiting

Sometimes

Not associated with common cold in adults


HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM THE A(H1N1) VIRUS

Protective measures to avoid getting or spreading the influenza A (H1N1) virus are the same as for flu and include:

  • Trying to avoid contact with people who appear unwell.

  • Always carry tissues.

  • Use clean tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze and bin the tissues immediately after use.

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or a sanitiser gel often.

  • If you become ill, limiting contact with others to avoid infecting them.

WHO ARE CATEGORISED AS HIGH –RISK GROUPS?

People who have: chronic lung, heart, kidney, liver, or neurological disease; people whose immune system is reduced by disease or medications; people with diabetes mellitus; people aged 65 years and older; children under 5 (children under 2 are at particular risk of influenza); people on medication for asthma, severely obese people (body mass index more than 40) and pregnant women.

WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT PHASE INVOLVE?

Given that flu causes mostly moderate illness, most people recover at home without needing anti-viral medicine but by taking plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL?

Travel Advice is available on the Department of Health website http://www.dohc.ie. This site is updated regularly.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

CIT has published guidelines in relation to Influenza A(H1N1) for the Institute's students and staff. These guidelines can be downloaded below:

CIT Student Guidelines for Influenza A(H1N1)
CIT Staff Guidelines for Influenza A(H1N1)

Information on the virus and updates can be found on the following web sites:

Health Protection Surveillance Centre

Health Service Executive

World Health Organisation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Department of Health and Children