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2009 H1N1 Influenza Basics

(Last updated September 3, 2009)

2009 H1N1 Influenza is causing illness in infected people around the world. It is highly likely to impact faculty, staff and students and the University of Minnesota. Below is some basic information to help you stay informed and stay healthy.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend these everyday steps to protect your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don’t have a Kleenex, sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Hand sanitizers are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Get a seasonal flu shot now and watch for information about the H1N1 vaccination later this fall.
  • If you have underlying medical concerns such as diabetes, asthma, sickle-cell disease, cardiovascular disease, a compromised immune system, or a pregnancy you should establish a care plan with their medical provider now, before getting sick.


Generally symptoms of influenza appear fairly rapidly with the onset of fever, headache and body aches. A person can often pin point the time at which he/she became symptomatic. Symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus include:

  • Fever--80% of people have fever, often high initially, but some people only have low grade fevers.
  • Cough--nonproductive cough is usually present.
  • Sore throat--occurs in some cases
  • Chest discomfort--more common than sore throat and can be severe
  • Runny or stuffy nose is not common with influenza
  • Body aches--occur frequently
  • Headache--occurs frequently and can be severe
  • Chills--occur with fever
  • Fatigue--people often report fatigue or weakness during the illness and for several days after the illness resolves.
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting can occur is some people.

What to do if you become ill

  • Most people who contract this flu are ill for five to seven days.
  • Until 24 hours after your fever subsides, you should not attend class, go to work, or attend events where you will be in close proximity with others.
  • Stay home, drink plenty of fluids, treat your fever with fever reducing medication, and get plenty of rest.
  • If your symptoms do not improve after several days, contact your primary health care provider for advice.

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University of Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Response Plan (332 K pdf)