H1N1: When Should You See a Doctor?
Public Flu Hotline: 1-800-447-1985
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports the 2009 H1N1 virus continues to spread rapidly throughout Iowa. While most Iowans will recover from the virus without needing to seek medical attention, some individuals, especially children, are at higher risk for H1N1-related complications.
Children who should be considered for early antiviral treatment, and whose parents or caregiver should contact their health care provider as soon as influenza-like symptoms begin, include:
- Those younger than 2 years of age in particular, and some children up to 4 years of age
- Children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma and diabetes
- Adolescents who are pregnant (and up to two weeks after giving birth)
- Children and adolescents who are on long-term aspirin therapy
It is important to recognize that even healthy older children can have severe or fatal outcomes after influenza infection. In all children, warning signs indicating the need for urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish or gray skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Not waking up or not interacting with people and things around them
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough
To date in Iowa, there have been 124 H1N1-related hospitalizations and 5 H1N1-related deaths; the latest fatality, reported this week, was an adult from Mahaska County with medical conditions that increased the risk of complications. For more information about H1N1 influenza, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/h1n1. Iowans with questions about H1N1 may also call the toll-free Influenza Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.