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Fears of Swine Flu

Fear of the ‘Swine Flu’ (H1N1) has many executives and their spouses troubled by the uncertainty surrounding ‘The Flu’ and worried about their families and their employees.

This article, and some of the articles to follow, will try to answer the myriad questions surrounding this virus, about how symptoms of the Flu differ from that of the common cold and how to prevent the Flu.


“…if severe Swine FLU is diagnosed, your doctor may recommend an antiviral medication to speed recovery if diagnosed in the first 48 hours of the illness. With either the cold or the flu, get plenty of rest, water and juice, OTC medications to treat fever and cough and work from home if you have flu symptoms until you are 24 hours without fever.” -John Mamana, MD


Influenza is spread from person to person by respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing, either directly into another’s air space or onto surfaces, which are then touched. Once infected, a person may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

The symptoms of the common cold, which can be caused by hundreds of different viruses, are runny nose, scratchy throat, headache, fatigue, sneezing, watery eyes, and/or a low grade fever. ‘The Flu’, both seasonal and ‘Swine’, is typically a more severe illness and usually presents with a high fever (often >102), dry cough, chills, body aches, sweating, nausea, and a loss of appetite. This winter, we will see both Seasonal Influenza and Swine Flu (H1N1 influenza) circulating at the same time.

Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, without warning, while cold symptoms come on gradually; both can last about 10 days. There is no cure for ‘colds’, only symptomatic treatment; however, if Swine FLU is diagnosed, your doctor may recommend an antiviral medication to speed recovery if diagnosed in the first 48 hours of the illness. With either the cold or the flu, you need plenty of fluids, rest, and symptomatic medications to treat fever and cough. You should also work from home if you have flu symptoms until you are 24 hours without fever. This becomes a concern both for executives running a corporation (i.e. determining sick-leave policies) and for daycare decisions at home.
Other resources can be found at:

  • CDC 2009 H1N1 Flu
  • Individuals & Families from Flu.gov
  • Cold and flu prevention – naturally – WebMD
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