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What is H1N1?

Synonyms: swine flu, influenza h1n1

The H1N1 influenza consists of a disease caused by a mutation of the flu virus. Also known as Influenza type A flu or swine flu, she became known when affected much of the world's population between 2009 and 2010.


The symptoms of H1N1 flu are very similar to those of the common flu and transmission also occurs in the same way. The problem of H1N1 flu is that it can lead to very serious health complications and may lead patients even death.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 207 countries and other territories reported confirmed cases of H1N1 flu between 2009 and 2010, when there was a pandemic disease. During this period, were almost nine thousand deaths due to the H1N1 flu.

The outbreak began in Mexico, where a respiratory illness spread through the population and quickly came to the United States, Canada and then to the rest of the world - thanks to air travel.

outbreak 2016

2016 H1N1 flu arrived earlier to Brazil. In March 2016 the number of cases only in the state of São Paulo surpassed the number of sick people in 2015 across the country. There are 260 cases in the state until March 2016, against 141 in Brazil last year.

Usually the H1N1 flu, like other types of flu are more common in winter, but the outbreak this time began in the summer. It is believed that the large influx of people from cold regions like the United States, Canada and Europe.


The earliest forms of the H1N1 virus were found in pigs, but the consequent changes made it also a threat to humans. Like all viruses considered new, for which there is often preventive methods, the mutant H1N1 flu virus has spread rapidly around the world.

Transmission is the same as the common cold, or respiratory secretions using as saliva droplets, coughing or sneezing, especially. After being infected with the virus, a person can take one to four days to begin to show symptoms of the disease. Similarly, it may take from one to seven days to be able to transmit it to others.

Risk factors

The H1N1 flu, like any flu can affect people of all ages, but in the period when there was a pandemic, it was noted that the virus infected more people between five and 24 years. There were few cases of H1N1 flu reported in people over 65 years old.

Pregnant women, chronically ill (such as diabetics), small children, people with obesity and other respiratory problems are also among the most vulnerable to H1N1 flu.

The other risk factors follow the same line of those listed for other types of group. Staying indoors and a cluster of people putting their hands to their mouth or nose without washing them before and stay in close contact with a sick person are the main factors that may increase the risk that a person will develop H1N1 flu .



Symptoms of H1N1 flu

The signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu are very similar to the common flu but may be a little more serious and usually include some complications too. Look:

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea.

The complications from H1N1 flu are common in young people, which is quite hard to do in cases of common flu.

Respiratory failure is a common symptom of H1N1 flu that is not properly treated. In severe cases, it can lead the patient to death.


Diagnosis and Examinations

Seeking medical help

The World Health Organization says the H1N1 flu pandemic today is already controlled. In then the increase in cases in the State of São Paulo has become the disease again a cause for concern.

Flu-like symptoms that do not pass should be investigated by a specialist, especially if they are accompanied by more severe signs such as shortness of breath.

In the medical consultation

Experts who can diagnose H1N1 flu are:

  • GP
  • infectious disease
  • pulmonologist

Be prepared for the consultation can facilitate diagnosis and optimize time. This way, you can now get to the consultation with some information:

  • A list of all the symptoms and how long they appeared
  • Medical history, including other conditions the patient has and medications or supplements he takes regularly
  • If possible, ask for a person accompanying you.

The doctor will likely make a series of questions such as:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When your symptoms come from?
  • You kept close contact with someone who was sick?
  • Have you been recently in enclosed or clusters of people?
  • Do you feel short of breath? How often?
  • You took vaccine for H1N1 flu?

Diagnosis of H1N1 Flu

Suspected H1N1 flu occurs in people with signs and symptoms consistent framework to the flu, but with the typical complications of H1N1. In these cases, the physician should collect a secretion of the patient sample and send it to detailed analysis in the laboratory.


Treatment and Care

Treatment of H1N1 Influenza

Most cases of H1N1 flu has been completely cured without the need for hospitalization or the use of antivirals. In some cases, however, the use of drugs and clinical observation are needed to ensure the recovery of the patient.


Living (prognosis)

Living / Prognosis

A person diagnosed with H1N1 flu should stay at home, away from work or school and avoid areas with accumulation of people. Rest and maintain good hydration are two important tips to ensure recovery.

possible complications

The main complication of H1N1 influenza consists of respiratory failure crisis, which may lead the patient to death if not treated immediately and urgently.




Preventing H1N1 flu follows the same guidelines for the prevention of any type of flu, only that care should be taken:

  • Avoid keeping close contact with someone who is infected
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water and avoid putting their hands to the face, especially the mouth
  • Always carry a bottle with alcohol gel to ensure that the hands are always sterilized
  • Keep healthy habits. Eat well and eat enough vegetables and fruits. Drink a lot of water
  • Do not share personal items such as towels, cups, cutlery and pillows
  • If deemed necessary, use a mask to protect yourself from infected droplets that may be in the air
  • Avoid attending enclosed or many people
  • Check with a doctor if there is need to take the vaccine already available against H1N1.


Due to the sudden increase in cases in early 2016, the city of São José do Rio Preto is making an extra vaccination campaign in the city, using the batch of 2015 vaccines, which also includes H1N1. However, it is very important to note that in 2016 a new flu vaccine will be launched in the national campaign of vaccination against influenza, and it will also include the H1N1 and should be taken.

The vaccination is usually offered in public for people within the risk groups, namely:

  • Children between 6 months and 5 years
  • Seniors over 60 years
  • pregnant Women
  • Those with chronic diseases such as bronchitis and asthma.

Who does not fit in these groups, but want to prevent, should get the vaccine in private clinics.


Sources and references

  • Ministry of Health
  • World Health Organization
  • Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein