Taking Care of Someone with 2009 H1N1 Flu in Your Home
Things people who care for others with 2009 H1N1 flu at home should
- A wide range of symptoms have been identified with 2009 H1N1 flu,
and those include a fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache,
chills and fatigue. Some people have diarrhea and vomiting. The
flu is spread by the droplets from coughs and sneezes.
- Wear a surgical face mask—if you can—to help prevent
spreading the flu when you are in close contact, usually six feet
or less, of others.
- Keep the sick person separated from other people in the home and
don´t let them go to school or work. They should have only one
caretaker, no visitors and, if possible, they should have their own
bathroom and wear a surgical mask when in the presence of others.
- Pregnant women should not care for the sick person because they
are at risk of complications if they become ill. If a pregnant woman
needs to care for someone, they should discuss the situation with
their healthcare provider.
- Make sure the sick person covers their coughs and sneezes and then
washes their hands to prevent the spread of the flu. Use paper towels
and dispose of them or don´t share towels.
- Throw away tissues and other disposable items used by the sick
person and wash your hands after touching those items. Keep surfaces
clean and disinfect anything the sick person touches.
- You should not share eating utensils, linens or dishes with the
sick person, but normal washing with soap and water will clean
those items and make them safe for you to use.
- Everyone in the house should wash their hands with soap and water
frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60
- Check with the sick person´s doctor about any special care
that could be needed if they are pregnant or have a health condition
like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or emphysema.
- Keep the person home until the fever is gone for 24 hours
without the use of fever-reducing medication. Children may be contagious
- Give the sick person clear liquids like water, broth or sports
drinks or, in the case of infants, electrolyte beverages. That will
keep them from being dehydrated.
- Consult with a doctor before giving over-the-counter medicine
to children and teens. Do not give aspirin to children or teenagers who
have the flu because this can cause a rare but serious condition called
- Watch for signs that could indicate the person needs medical
attention, like chest pains or heavy breathing, dizziness or
confusion, seizures or dehydration.
Note: Information is specific to schools. Guidance
may vary in other work situations. Guidance offered Aug. 7, 2009. For more
information, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_homecare.htm.