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Information for people in quarantine/isolation at home
11am, 15 May 2009
How can someone with the flu infect someone
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or
You have been given this fact sheet as you have been
asked to undertake voluntary quarantine/ isolation as
you may have or have been exposed to H1N1
This means that you may be able to pass on the flu to
someone else before you know you are sick, as well as
This fact sheet is intended to answer any questions you may have.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of
Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person
move through the air. Germs can be spread when a
What is H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu)?
person touches respiratory droplets from another
H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu). is a respiratory
person on a surface such as a desk and then touches
disease caused by a new influenza virus.
their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
How does H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu)
How long can viruses live outside the body?
Spread of H1N1 influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu) virus
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live two
is thought to be happening the same way seasonal flu
hours or longer on surfaces such as tables, doorknobs
spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to
and desks. Frequent handwashing will reduce the
chance of contamination from these common surfaces.
Sometimes people may become infected by touching
Are there medicines to treat H1N1 Influenza 09
something with flu viruses on it and then touching
(Human Swine Flu)?
DHS recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir
(Tamiflu or Relenza) for the treatment of infection with
Is H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu)
H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu) viruses.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid
H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu) virus is
or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu
contagious and is spreading from human to human.
viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick,
However, at this time, it is not known how easily the
antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make
you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious
flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work
What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1
Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu)?
best if started soon after getting sick (within two days
The symptoms of H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine
Flu) in people are similar to the symptoms of regular
In certain circumstances these drugs are also used to
flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches,
headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have
How long can an infected person spread H1N1
reported diarrhoea and vomiting associated with H1N1
Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu) to others?
Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu). Severe illness
(pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have
People with H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu)
been reported in some cases with H1N1 Influenza 09
virus should be considered potentially contagious as
(Human Swine Flu) infection. Like seasonal flu, H1N1
long as they are symptomatic and for up to seven days
Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu) may cause a
worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Children, especially younger children, might potentially
Well people in quarantine
Contacts of people confirmed with H1N1 Influenza 09
Stay at home until advised by DHS that quarantine is
(Human Swine Flu) may be required to remain in
no longer required. No visitors are permitted during
quarantine also. This is necessary as they may be able
to spread flu to others, before they develop symptoms
Sick people in quarantine
• If you are ill, it will be at least seven days after the
They should remain at home until advised by DHS that
start of the illness and when fever is gone before
quarantine has ended. There should be no visitors
quarantine can be expected to end. DHS will be in
aside from health care professionals for urgent health
frequent contact with you and will tell you exactly
care needs. If health care professionals do need to
visit your house, you must advise them that you are in
• Keep other household members away from the sick
person as much as possible. Avoid close contact
• Keep the sick person in a room separate from the
common areas of the home. If possible, they should
• Drink clear fluids to avoid dehydration
not share a bedroom or bathroom. Keep the
• If possible have only one adult in the home take
Protect other household
care of the sick person. Preferably, this should not be a pregnant woman, as they are at higher risk of
There are a number of measures you can take to
• The sick person should not have any visitors other
protect yourself and others from influenza. There is no
than caregivers. A phone call is safer than a visit.
vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1
• Treatments such as nebulisers or inhalers should be
used in a separate room away from common areas
Take these steps to protect your health:
Watch for signs that the sick person may need
further medical attention: difficulty breathing, chest
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you
pain, blueness around the lips, inability to keep
cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in a plastic-lined
fluids down, becoming less alert or developing
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm
• Keep the personal items of the sick person, such as
water, scrubbing your wrists, palms, fingers and
towels, separate from the rest of the family.
nails for 10–15 seconds. Rinse and dry with a clean,
• Remember not to share eating utensils, food or
• After touching surfaces try not to rub your eyes or
touch your nose or mouth, as this is how you may
• Have the sick person wear a surgical mask if they
need to be in a common area of the house near
• Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Wear a mask labelled P2 or N95 if you help a sick
• Remember to keep the sick persons items separate
person with treatments such as a nebuliser or
• You should try to stay one metre or more from the
• A P2 or N95 mask fits snugly around the face, and
sick person to reduce the spread of illness. If
filters out small particles that can be inhaled around
possible, the sick person should sleep in a separate
the edges of a surgical mask. However, it is more
difficult to breathe through a P2 respirator than a
Cleaning, laundry and waste disposal
Used facemasks and respirators should be taken off
Throw tissues and used facemasks in a plastic-lined
and immediately placed in the rubbish so they do
not touch anything else. Before and after you take
• Wash your hands after touching used tissues and
off a facemask, wash your hands with soap and
• Wipe down surfaces such as bedside tables,
• Avoid re-using disposable facemasks and
bathroom surfaces and toys, with household
respirators. Re-useable fabric facemasks can be
laundered with normal laundry detergent and
• Eating utensils, plates and glasses should not be
shared, but can be washed with other similar things.
• Facemasks and respirators can be purchased at a
Use hot water and detergent or a dishwasher.
• Sheets and towels can be washed with normal
• Pharmacies may not stock P2 or N95 masks. Please
laundry. Hot tumble-drying is preferred, if available.
• Avoid ‘hugging’ dirty laundry before washing it, to
avoid contaminating yourself. Wash your hands with
soap and water after handling dirty laundry.
Assistance you might need
Younger children, especially those under six months of
age may also have diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach
pain. Some of the things you can do for your child are:
• Identify someone you could call upon for help if you
• Give paracetamol or ibuprofen for the fever in the
become ill with the flu or are unable to leave the
dose recommended on the packet (unless your
home. Make sure you discuss this with the person
doctor says otherwise). Do not give aspirin
containing medications. Your pharmacist can
• Identify someone who could help you with food and
provide advice on appropriate ‘over-the-counter’
supplies if you and your family are ill. They will need
to drop supplies at your front door prior to you
• Do not expect to be prescribed antibiotics for
uncomplicated influenza, as they will have no
• Keep the phone number of your family doctor and
health information line in a prominent place.
• Antibiotics may be prescribed for complications of
influenza such as pneumonia or ear infections.
Supplies you might need in
• Dress the child in lightweight clothing and keep the
room temperature at about 20 degrees Celsius if possible.
It is a good idea to have supplies of the following on
• Offer cool fluids frequently when the child is awake.
• fluids (such as bottled water, juices, soups) and
• Allow the child to rest and stay at home until no
longer infectious, so the virus isn’t spread to other
basic household items (for example, tissues) to last
• As soon as you have wiped your child’s nose throw
away tissues in a plastic-lined rubbish bin.
plastic bags (used supermarket bags are good) to
• Teach the child to cover their mouth and nose with
a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and
paracetamol and a thermometer in your medicine
then throw the tissue away in a plastic-lined rubbish
What to expect with the flu
• Wash your hands often and teach your child to do
: Sudden appearance of fever, headache,
muscle pain and weakness, dry cough, sore throat and
You should seek medical attention as soon as
: Fever and muscle aches decrease. Hoarse, dry
or sore throat, cough and possible mild chest
When you seek medical care, if possible, ring the
discomfort become more noticeable. May feel tired,
practice or hospital beforehand to arrange
assessment in the home.
: Symptoms decrease. Cough, tiredness and
mild depression may last 1–2 weeks or more.
When to seek medical
For advice regarding health concerns, please contact
Nurse On Call on 1300 606 024
(24 hours, 7 days).
Watch for signs that sick person may need further
DHS will be in touch with people in quarantine
medical attention: difficulty breathing, chest pain,
blueness around the lips, inability to keep fluids down,
becoming less alert or developing confusion.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as
these symptoms occur. If possible, ring the practice or hospital beforehand and advise them that you are in
When a child is unwell
Older children and teens have the same flu symptoms
as adults. Very young children and infants probably
have similar symptoms, but may not know how to tell
people they have sore muscles or a headache. These
children may be irritable and eat poorly. They
sometimes develop a hoarse cry and barking cough
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