Swine flu is an infection caused by a virus. It's named for a virus that pigs can get. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. In 2009 a strain of swine flu called H1N1 infected many people around the world.
The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
There are antiviral medicines you can take to prevent or treat swine flu. There is a vaccine available to protect against swine flu. You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Staying home from work or school if you are sick.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Influenza (Flu) Vaccine (Inactivated or Recombinant): What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Should People With Cancer Get a Flu Shot? (American Cancer Society)
- Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) in Pigs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Variant (Swine Origin) Influenza Viruses in Humans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Influenza, Human (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- College students and the flu (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- H1N1 (swine) influenza (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Pregnancy and the flu (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Your baby and the flu (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Your child and the flu (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish