Things you should know about H1N1

Over one million people in the US have had H1N1 already in 2009.

Is H1N1 more dangerous than the usual flu virus?
H1N1 is not more harmful than the typical flu virus. The number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by H1N1 are actually lower than the number caused by the typical seasonal flu virus. The reason this new strand of flu virus is alarming is because more people seem to be susceptible to it and it has a longer season.

Why is it called “swine flu?”

H1N1 is sometimes called “swine flu” because many of the genes in the virus were originally found to be similar to flu viruses that occur in pigs, but after further testing it was discovered that this virus is very different from what is spread among North American swine. You cannot get the H1N1 virus from eating meat.

What group of people is most susceptible?

College students fall into the age group of high susceptibility to H1N1 because people under 25 years of age seem to be more vulnerable to swine flu. Since the disease spreads easily among people who live in close contact, communal dorm living also puts college students at risk. Typically elderly people are at a greater risk for the flu, but H1N1 seems to be a bigger threat to the young. Pregnant women and people with health problems such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease are also highly susceptible to H1N1.

Is there a vaccine for H1N1?
A vaccine for H1N1 is currently being produced and should be available soon. A normal seasonal flu vaccine should be used alongside the H1N1 vaccine, but neither vaccine will provide protection against both. Since the H1N1 vaccine production is behind schedule, there may be a limited supply at first. Eastern has requested a supply, but is still unsure if the University will receive it. If Eastern does receive a supply of the H1N1 vaccine, it will be offered to resident students first, then to the rest of the Eastern community.

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