What is the Difference Between H1N1 and the Flu?

During the last few months, news of the H1N1 virus has been leading Americans to panic. In addition to the fears about contracting the virus, and uncertainty about whether or not to get the vaccine, there has also been much confusion about what makes the H1N1 virus different from the flu which traditionally sweeps across the country in the winter months.

The H1N1 flu, which is often referred to as the Swine Flu, is one particular strain of flu. For those in the American population who are in the older generations, this bit of information makes it clearer. In decades past, there was the Asian flu in the late 1950s, the London flu in the late 1970s, and others.

While simply naming strains of flu is enough to increase the sense of panic, the availability of flu vaccines should cause people to assess the seriousness of the flu and have themselves and their family members vaccinated. Although the H1N1 flu is constantly in the news, the seasonal flu can be as dangerous. It is recommended that people should be vaccinated against both.

Although everyone is at risk of developing either type of flu, the experts have noticed one difference. While the elderly have traditionally been at the greatest risk from seasonal flu, more people under age twenty-five have contracted and died from the H1N1 virus already.

When it comes to the differences between the H1N1 virus and a seasonal flu, the similarities are much more important. If you become ill with either type of flu, the symptoms are very similar. The tests which you could have done at your local clinic or hospital may not even be able to discern which type of flu you have. Although it is possible to have a minor case of the flu without any complications, you could become seriously ill, or you could die. All of these are good enough reasons to take sensible precautions.

There are other things which you can do in addition to getting vaccinated against both types of the flu. First, you can protect your health. This includes washing your hands frequently, keeping your immune system in its best possible condition, and avoiding contact with people and places where the flu virus is present. Second, if you do become ill, you not only need to take care of yourself but be considerate of others, also. If you suspect that you have contracted the flu, do not go to school or work. Your doctor can evaluate your condition, and prescribe appropriate medication if you do indeed have the flu. As both types of flu are viruses, antiviral medication can be greatly beneficial.

The bottom line is that regardless of which type of flu you are concerned about, there are steps which you can take to avoid contracting it, and to avoid passing it on to others if you do contract it. It is essential for you to take the flu seriously, for the sake of your health and the people you come in contact with in your everyday life.


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