Swine Flu and Cystic Fibrosis
- What is influenza?
- What is swine flu?
- What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
- How does swine flu spread?
- How can I avoid swine flu and other germs?
- What should I do if I think I or my child has the flu?
- My doctor has prescribed Tamiflu®, but I can’t get it locally. What can I do?
- Is the CF Foundation monitoring the swine flu outbreak?
Influenza (the flu) is an illness caused by a virus. It usually happens in the fall and winter but people can get the flu at other times of the year. The flu is easily spread by direct contact, coughing, sneezing, and when an infected person touches a surface that others then use, like doorknobs and railings. Read this fact sheet to learn more about the flu and ways to avoid getting it.
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses, which can cause regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of chronic medical conditions, like CF.
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include:
- fever and chills,
- sore throat,
- body aches, headache and
Spread of the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person when someone with influenza coughs or sneezes. Sometimes a person may become infected with the flu by touching something that has flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
- Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand gel or soap and water.
- Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw it away, then clean your hands.
- Keep at least three feet away from others who appear ill or are coughing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth since germs spread that way.
If you or your child has CF and you think you or they may also have the flu, call your doctor. If you get sick, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. If you have swine flu your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug like Tamiflu® that can modify the severity of your illness.
CF Services Pharmacy, Inc. has Tamiflu® available for people with CF. You can contact CF Services at (800) 541-4959.
The Foundation is closely monitoring the evolving swine flu outbreak and will update this site with more information and recommendations as needed.
You can learn more about the swine flu and how to avoid germs from:
- The CDC Web site,
- The Foundation’s Influenza fact sheet and Respiratory: What You Should Know About Germs, and
- Watching the Web cast How to Avoid Germs in CF.