Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is warning consumers, in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission, to be wary of promotions and products on the Internet and elsewhere that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus.
The FDA warns that consumers who purchase such products that have not been approved, cleared, or authorized by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of influenza risk their health and the health of their families. “We are very fortunate that there are FDA-approved antivirals, namely oseltamivir and relenza, that can treat this particlar strain of flu,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “so it is especially disturbing that there are people who would try to capitalize on others’ concern about a new virus and potentially cause people harm. Therefore, we are urging consumers to use common sense, and when they are unsure of a product’s efficacy, safety or approval, check with their healthcare provider.”
H1N1 (and any flu) can be spread from one person to another when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are sprayed through the air and land on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches cough or sneeze droplets on another person or object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s) before washing their hands.
Routine actions are an important way to stay healthy; these include:
Wash your hands frequently (15-20 seconds with soap and warm water) or use 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels, especially before eating and after using the bathroom
Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and always throw used tissues into the trash, or cough into your elbow/shoulder
If you have not washed your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Do not share drinking/eating containers or utensils
Avoid contact with ill persons if possible
Monitor your own health
If you do become ill, stay home from work and school
Keep surfaces at home and work clean (such as keyboards, door knobs, computer mice, telephones, light switches, faucets) by wiping them down with a disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to seasonal influenza, including fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, headache and muscle aches, and fatigue. Some patients have also reported diarrhea and vomiting and severe illness, including pneumonia, and sometimes death occurs.
For questions about H1N1, possible symptoms, travel information, or other issues related to this illness residents can call 1-888-330-6764 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily. For more information on H1N1, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu. For more information about consumer H1N1 scams, go to www.fda.gov/h1n1flu/default.htm.