Influenza A: prevention tips

The anti-contagion hygiene rules

Flu A (H1N1) shows the same symptoms as traditional seasonal flu: fever, cough, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, headache, general malaise and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

The method of transmission of the virus can also be associated with that of seasonal flu (cough, sneezing, contact with infected objects). To avoid contagion, it is sufficient to respect simple hygiene rules that should become part of our daily habits.


1) When we sneeze, we cover our nose and mouth with a handkerchief, which must then be immediately thrown into the waste.
2) Let's wash our hands often with soap and water – alcohol-based cleaners are also fine – for at least 15 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing or going to public places.
3) We try to avoid contact with sick people.
4) If we get sick, we stay home for at least 7 days after the first symptoms appear and at least 24 hours after healing. We limit contacts with other people to avoid infecting them.
5) We avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth if we have not washed our hands because the germs are transmitted through the mucous membranes.
6) If we have flu symptoms and have to share common spaces with other people, we wear a surgical mask.
7) We often air closed rooms, especially if crowded.


It has been shown that pregnant women run a greater risk of incurring more severe forms of both influenza A and seasonal flu. For this reason, the seasonal flu vaccine has been recommended for pregnant women for years in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of gestation. For the same reason, it is important that future mothers pay particular attention to the rules listed above to avoid contagion.

If flu symptoms occur, the right thing to do is to contact your doctor who will decide whether to prescribe a medical treatment or a laboratory test. Better to avoid unnecessary alarmism. It is necessary to go to the emergency room only if one of the following symptoms occurs:
– difficulty breathing or wheezing;
– pain or tightness in the chest;
– sudden dizziness;
– appearance of sleep disturbances in non-smokers and / or women with lung diseases;
– confusion;
– severe and persistent vomiting;
– decrease or absence of movement of the child;
– high fever that does not decrease with the antipyretic.


The mother who has contracted the flu must not stop breastfeeding her baby because breast milk is rich in antibodies that will protect the baby from disease.

However, some precautions must be taken:
– ask the help of someone not sick to take care of the baby (changing diapers, baby bath, etc.). If this is not possible, wear a mask when you are close to the child;
– put on a mask while breastfeeding and place a clean towel between us and the baby;
– if breastfeeding, the mother can use a breast pump, put the milk collected in a bottle and ask a non-sick person to feed the baby.

The video accompanying the article was made as part of the US campaign for the prevention of influenza A wanted by President Obama.

The Italian version, which has Topo Gigio as a testimonial, can be viewed on the Ministry of Health website, where you will find many other useful information regarding the prevention of influenza A.


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