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Home > Events & Health Information > Diseases & Conditions > Infections > Influenza A (H1N1)

Influenza A (H1N1)

About the condition

What is Influenza A (H1N1)?

Influenza A (H1N1-2009) (also described as 2009 Influenza A (H1N1), and previously referred to as "new strain of swine flu") is a new strain of influenza virus that spreads from human to human. Influenza A (H1N1) is a viral respiratory disease that presents with flu-like symptoms, and it has been found to infect more children and young adults than the older population.

How to reduce the risk for children?

  • Practise good personal hygiene and be socially responsible by :

  • Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, especially before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue whenever you need to cough or sneeze.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people or someone who has H1N1 flu.

  • Use alcohol-based hand cleaner

  • Reduce unnecessary social contacts and avoidance whenever possible of crowded settings

  • Facemasks may help to reduce the risk of getting influenza


Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1) are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu. These symptoms can vary in severity from mild to severe, and include the following:

> Fever

> Runny nose

> Sore Throat

> Headaches

> Cough

> Tiredness

> Body aches

> Diarrhoea and vomiting


What should I do if I suspect my child has H1N1?

How do I know if my child has H1N1 or common cold?

Symptoms of H1N1are like seasonal flu and include the following: Fever (temp > 38oC),cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhoea.

What should I do if my child gets sick?

If your child gets sick with flu-like symptoms, keep him/her at home, limit contact with others, and bring him/her to the doctor. Your doctor will decide if testing or treatment is needed.

When should your child get emergency medical care?

If your child has any of these signs, seek emergency medical care by dialing 993 for an ambulance:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

  • Sudden dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Severe or persistent vomiting

  • Decreased or no movement/lethargic


Diagnosis and Treatment Options

What is expected at hospital?

Screening Process

Step1: Your child will be seen in Fever Facilities at a Emergency Department. A nurse will take your temperature and other parameters. Your will be asked for your travel history and symptoms.

Step 2: Your child will be see by a doctor from Children's Emergency. The consultation aims to assess your child's condition as well as risk factor for more severe H1N1 disease. In the absence of risk factors and complication, you child will be treated symptomatically and discharge as appropriate.

Step 3: Nasal swab for H1N1 testing will be done for your child if your child is deemed at higher risk for more severe H1N1 disease.

Step 4: A doctor or nurse will take a nasal or throat swab sample from you. Your child will be asked to tilt his/her head backwards while the doctor or nurse inserts a swab into the nostrils or to the back of his/her throat. The swab will be held for a few seconds and he/she may experience a slight discomfort.

Step 5: After the swab has been taken, the sample will sent to the laboratory for processing. This will take approximately 36 hours.

Step 6: Your child will be discharged after the swab if his/her condition is stable. You will be informed of the result when it is available.


Treatment for H1N1 is like for other influenza viruses. Rest and plenty of fluids are important for speedy recovery. Symptomatic treatment for fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough may alleviate the discomfort

Your doctor will decide if your child needs antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) or Relenza® (zanamivir). Antiviral drugs are prescription pills, liquids or inhalers that fight against the flu by keeping the germs from growing in your body. These medicines can make your child feel better faster and make their symptoms milder.

Can influenza antiviral drugs be used in children?

Oseltamivir(Tamiflu) and zanamivir(Relenza) can be used for children, but as most of them recover without any medications, they are now not routinely prescribed. Children at high risk of complications from influenza, like those with chronic lung and heart disease, immunocompromised children, or those presenting with more complicated and severe symptoms would be given these anti-viral drugs. These medicines work best when started soon after symptoms begin within 2 days and for antiviral treatment it is usually for a period of 5 days.

Will there be any side-effect after taking influenza antiviral drugs?

The common side-effects of influenza anti-viral drugs are nausea and vomiting. In children and adolescents, there have been reports of unusual behaviour, like self-injury and confusion after taking oseltamivir. Rarely, severe allergic skin reaction may occur.

What should I do if I am still unclear?

Kindly call NUH Mainline: 6779 5555