Fortunately, when most individuals become infected with the H1N1 swine flu they do not need to receive medical attention and are able to overcome the symptoms within approximately seven days, however, the H1N1 virus is extremely contagious and can be contracted when coming into close contact with another individual who has this virus one day before they are exhibiting any symptoms and up to seven days afterward. Most individuals will be able to recover from the H1N1 virus at home, however, if you are a caretaker for someone who has the flu or H1N1 virus, it is essential that you take precautionary measures to avoid becoming infected yourself or spreading this illness to others.
Preparing a Sick Room
If you are caring for someone in the home that has the H1N1 flu, if at all possible create a separate bedroom for them to use for the duration of their illness. This room should be stocked with plenty of disposable tissues as well as a trash container that is lined with a disposable trash bag and a lid. You should also ensure that you have a thermometer handy and ant-bacterial hand wipes or a hand rub that is alcohol-based. Anyone who has the flu should drink plenty of fluids in order to stay hydrated, therefore, be sure to have plenty of fluids available as well as squeeze bottle or cup with a straw and have either a cooler with drinks and ice or a pitcher with ice water within easy reach.
A humidifier should also be placed in the room to moisturize the air as this makes breathing easier for those experiencing respiratory problems with flu. In order to prevent the spread of germs to other areas of the house, face masks should be available for the individual who is sick to wear them when leaving the room or when around other individuals. Ensure that you have any over-the-counter or prescription medications close at hand and keep track of the dosages, but ensure that they are kept out of reach from young children.
Advice for the Caregiver
When you are caring for someone who has the H1N1 virus, it is essential that you avoid coming into direct contact with them as much as possible and especially avoid getting close to their face as this virus has the potential to spread even when just talking up close to another individual. If you are caring for a sick child that needs to be held, ensure that you place their chin so that it is positioned on your shoulder to avoid them accidentally coughing in your face. It is essential that you wash your hands thoroughly as frequently as possible and especially after coming into contact with the person who is sick including their laundry and tissues. You should ensure that you keep all of the hard surfaces in your home including doorknobs, toilets, sinks, counters, toys, telephones, and other items that have the potential to harbor germs clean and disinfected by using dish soap and warm water or other household cleaners that contain a disinfectant.