Swine Flu - What You Need to Know
What vaccines are available?

Vaccines are being prepared in large numbers. Millions of doses will be available in October with more being distributed each month thereafter. The CDC says children ages 6 months to 19 should get a flu shot each year.

What medications are effective?

Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) are thought to be the most effective medications to combat H1N1. Doctors advise taking these drugs as soon as possible after symptoms are exhibited. The CDC adds that those who have been to areas with widespread infection should talk to their doctors about taking one of these antiviral medicines.

Health officials don't advise stockpiling Tamiflu and Relenza, though there have been reports in recent years about public health workers doing just that. Still, the government recommends leaving available medicines for those truly in need.

How do I prepare my family for a possible major outbreak?

The government web site Flu.gov advises that you keep a two week supply of food and water in the house. You should also make sure you have a large supply of any prescription drugs on hand. Make sure your children know to always wash their hands and stay away from others who are sick. Parents should cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and model that behavior for the children.

Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home. Parents should make plans for child care in the event they themselves become sick.

What if a family member becomes sick?

Call your doctor. If you, your spouse or the kids are coughing and sneezing it could just be a cold. But if there's a fever, headache and other flu symptoms, that's an indication that it could be Swine Flu or some other strain of season influenza.

Also, anyone who's sick should stay home and avoid public areas.

What about travel? Is it safe?

Experts advise caution when traveling to Mexico since there have been large numbers of people infected with Swine Flu there. But you should check with your airline, and websites for the CDC and WHO before traveling since new advisories are constantly posted.

Why have so many people died from Swine Flu in Mexico but not in the U.S.?

Nobody is excactly sure, but it's possible that Americans generally get better, faster medical care. But some experts worry that the number of U.S. deaths could increase as the disease spreads.

Should we avoid pork?

That's not necessary. Swine Flu or H1N1 virus is spread between individuals or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Pork has nothing to do with it.