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Emergency room physician Dr. Stephen Schueler answers the most frequently asked questions about H1N1 virus (swine flu). Read the transcripts or watch the exclusive video series.

What is swine flu? What Is Swine Flu or H1N1 Flu?
Swine flu is a new type of influenza A, the same virus that causes seasonal influenza. It was originally called swine flu because it's similar to a virus that causes the flu in pigs. The new name for swine flu is novel H1N1 influenza, and the "novel" part just means that it's a newly recognized virus. Watch the video.
Swine flu and seasonal flu: Which is worse? Is H1N1 Flu Worse Than Seasonal Flu?
No. Both types of flu usually cause a mild illness that can last for several days. Both types can cause pneumonia, but H1N1 flu does not appear to cause pneumonia any more often than seasonal flu. Watch the video.
Swine flu and seasonal flu differences Are There Any Differences Between H1N1 and Seasonal Flu?
While H1N1 flu tends to strike children and adults under 25, seasonal flu is more common in the elderly. So far, there have been fewer deaths from H1N1 flu than seasonal flu in people over 64. Watch the video.
Swine flu risk Who Is at Greatest Risk for H1N1 Flu?
Just like with seasonal flu, I worry most about people with asthma, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. I also worry about people who are on chemotherapy or taking any kind of medication that weakens the immune system. Other people that need to be watched more closely are those with neurocognitive disorders, and these are things like Alzheimer's disease; also neuromuscular disorders, and these are things like ALS and multiple sclerosis. It also appears that pregnant women have an increased risk for serious H1N1 flu. Watch the video.
Swine flu symptoms What Are Serious Symptoms of Flu?
Whether it's H1N1 or seasonal flu, I worry about anyone who has new or worsening wheezing or breathing difficulty. Now, in a younger child this may manifest as a cough with breathing more rapidly than usual. Additional symptoms that worry me include neck pain, stiffness, and confusion. Watch the video.
How to react to swine flu How Should a Person React to H1N1 Flu?
No differently than someone with seasonal flu. In most cases, this is a mild illness and only lasts a few days. If you have the flu, you should rest, get plenty of fluids, and take medications for fever. And by all means, you should stay home unless you have serious symptoms. If you're at risk for serious flu, you should contact your doctor so he or she can make a decision on antiviral medication. Watch the video.
How long is someone with the flu contagious? How Long Is Someone With the Flu Contagious?
Most people will be surprised by this answer, because you're actually contagious for up to a day before your symptoms even begin. Now, you'll be most contagious when you have symptoms, but this will taper off over five to seven days after your symptoms disappear. In general, you should stay at home until at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. Watch the video.
Swine flu prevention How Does Someone Avoid Getting the Flu?
During flu season, the best advice is to avoid those who are sick, wash your hands often with soap and water, and avoid touching your eyes, your nose, or your mouth. But don't use this as an excuse to not cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Now, there is a flu vaccine available every year that can give you some protection against seasonal influenza. But you'll need to talk with your doctor to see if you should also receive the new H1N1 vaccine. Watch the video.
Swine flu treatment Is Swine Flu or H1N1 Treated Any Differently Than Seasonal Flu?
No. In all cases of flu, antiviral medications are used when your symptoms are severe or when you're at increased risk for pneumonia from the flu. Antiviral medications can also reduce the symptom severity and in some cases shorten the course of the illness. Watch the video.
Swine flu and seasonal flu tests How Do I Know If I Have Swine Flu (H1N1) or the Regular, Seasonal Flu?
The only way to be certain you have H1N1 flu is through testing. And your doctor will decide if you need to be tested for H1N1 flu. Watch the video.
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