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This Web page is no longer being maintained or updated; it is provided for historical purposes only. For current information on seasonal influenza (flu), see the California Department of Public Health Influenza Web page.

 H1N1 Flu Resources

H1N1 Flu Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Welcome to CDPH H1N1 Flu Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about H1N1 flu. For information about H1N1 flu that is specific to your medical condition please consult your health care provider. 

If you have any general H1N1 Flu questions that are not answered by the H1N1 Flu FAQs, please click the Comments link at the bottom of any webpage to submit questions and suggestions.

FAQ INDEX - By topic and number

01 H1N1 Disease (General Information)

01.01 What is H1N1 Flu?

01.02 What are the symptoms of H1N1 flu? What is the incubation period?

01.03 Is H1N1 flu worse than seasonal flu?

01.04 How do I get H1N1 flu?  How contagious is it? How long can it live outside the body?

01.05 I have flu symptoms and saw my doctor. Why didn't he or she test me for H1N1 flu?

01.06 If I've already had H1N1 influenza, can I get it again?

01.07 Is the current H1N1 flu strain the same as the strains from 1918 or 1976?

01.08 Are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu different in pregnant women than non-pregnant women?

01.09 What are the recommendations for breastfeeding in regard to H1N1 flu?

01.10 What are the CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) doing to respond to the H1N1 flu outbreak?

01.11 Where can I get information about workplace and occupational health issues associated with H1N1 flu?

01.12 What should businesses do to prepare for flu?

02 H1N1 Disease (Treatment)

02.01 What should I do if I think I have H1N1 flu?

02.02 Should I go to my doctor if I think I have H1N1 flu?

02.03 When should I seek emergency or immediate care for a person with H1N1 flu?

02.04 New guidelines for use of antivirals in an H1N1 pandemic were recently released. How much antiviral drugs are available in California?

02.05 What over-the-counter or commercially available medications help to lessen symptoms of H1N1 flu?

02.06 Can I give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu?

02.07 Do antiviral medications like Tamiflu work?

02.08 Who should get antivirals like Tamiflu?

02.09 Do we have enough supplies if hospitals are overwhelmed?

02.10 Do we have enough ventilators?

02.11 How are antivirals used to treat H1N1 flu different from the H1N1 vaccine?

02.12 What are the treatment benefits of influenza antiviral drugs for people with H1N1 or other flu illness?

02.13 What are the side effects of antiviral drugs in children with H1N1 flu or other types of flu?

02.14 Are H1N1 influenza viruses resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu)?

02.15 What is Peramivir for treatment of influenza in patients who are admitted into the hospital? 

03 H1N1 Disease (Prevention)

03.01 What can I do to avoid getting H1N1 flu? How can I protect my family?

03.02 Are there any drugs to prevent H1N1 flu?

03.03 How long does the H1N1 virus last outside the body? I work in an office. What precautions should I take when handling paper documents? 

03.04 What products can I use to clean surfaces to kill the H1N1 virus?

03.05 Should I keep my children at home?

03.06 What steps can pregnant women take to reduce their risk of H1N1 flu infection?

03.07 What are some ways that mothers and caretakers can protect infants from H1N1 flu?

03.08 Should I continue to breastfeed my baby if I have the flu?

03.09 Is it okay to take antiviral medicine to treat or prevent H1N1 flu while breastfeeding?

03.10 Should I wear a mask when caring for ill persons?

03.11 What should I know about using facemasks or respirators to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu?

03.12 I use a N95 respirator to protect myself from viruses. Should I throw away the respirator and get a new one every day?

03.13 What is being done to protect Californians?

03.14 What steps can I take to lessen the spread of novel H1N1 flu to others when caring for someone at home who is sick? 

04 H1N1 Vaccine (General Information)

04.01 What’s the difference between the H1N1 Flu Vaccine and the Regular (Seasonal) Flu vaccine?

04.02 Who are the H1N1 vaccine manufacturers?

04.03 Is H1N1 vaccine adjuvanted?

04.04 What are adjuvanted vaccines?

04.05 What’s the difference between the nasal spray and the flu shot?

04.06 How many doses/shots will I need?

04.07 Does the H1N1 Vaccine contain mercury/preservative/thimerosal?

04.08 Isn’t there a law regarding mercury/thimerosal-containing vaccines?

04.09 Can I get both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccine at the same visit?

04.10 How long is the wait between two H1N1 vaccinations for children?

04.11 Where can I get more information about preventing H1N1 and seasonal Flu or flu vaccines?

04.12 Useful websites

04.13 Can people use antiviral drugs before or after receiving the H1N1 or seasonal flu vaccine?

04.14 How long does the vaccine for H1N1 last?  Is there a need for a “booster” after a period of time?

05 H1N1 Vaccine (Specific Information)

05.01  Vaccine Availability (Where/When)

05.01.01 Where can I get H1N1 vaccine (flu shot or nasal spray vaccine)?

05.01.02 When is vaccine becoming available?

05.01.03 What types of vaccine will be available?

05.01.04 (deleted/outdated)

05.01.05 Where is vaccine being shipped from?

05.02 Vaccine Recommended Populations/Targeted Groups

05.02.01 Who qualifies for the H1N1 nasal spray vaccination?

05.02.02 Who can get H1N1 vaccine?

05.02.03 Is “proof” required for a chronic condition or pregnancy?

05.02.04 Do I need an H1N1 vaccine if I’ve already had the flu this year?

05.02.05 Is H1N1 vaccine mandatory/required?

05.02.06 Why are senior citizens or the elderly not targeted for H1N1 vaccine?

05.02.07 Are teachers on the priority list for H1N1 flu Vaccine?

05.02.08 What if I have to travel or go abroad/overseas? Can I get the vaccine?

05.02.09 Who qualifies as a healthcare worker?

05.02.10 Who decides who gets the vaccine in California?

05.02.11 Who should get shots first for H1N1?

05.02.12 Who should not get vaccinated for the flu?

05.03 Vaccine Cost

05.03.01 How much does the H1N1 vaccine cost?

05.04 Vaccine Safety

05.04.01 Can I get both flu vaccines and the pneumonia vaccine at the same time?

05.04.02 What are the side effects of the H1N1 Flu Vaccine?

05.04.03 How do I know the H1N1 vaccine is safe?

05.04.04 Which is better/safer, the flu SHOT or the nasal spray vaccine?

05.04.05 Is the flu vaccine safe for pregnant women?

05.04.06 Where can I get more information on H1N1 flu vaccine safety?

05.04.07 Are there any drug interactions with the H1N1 vaccine?

05.04.08 What is VAERS?

05.04.09 How do I report a vaccine side-effect or adverse event to VAERS?

05.04.10 What information is available from the H1N1 Clinical Trials?

05.04.11 What’s a VIS?

05.04.12 Will the new H1N1 vaccine be safe, even for children?

05.04.13 Should doctors give the H1N1 vaccine to persons who have an allergy to eggs?

05.05 Ordering Vaccine

05.05.01 Where can I order vaccine?

05.06 Vaccine Recall of Pediatric Pre-filled Syringes (Dec. 15, 2009)

05.06.01 Why are some lots of pediatric H1N1 vaccine being recalled? 

05.06.02 Are there any safety concerns about these lots?

05.06.03 What action(s) should parents of children who have received vaccine from the recalled lots take?

05.06.04 Should infants and children who received vaccines from these lots be revaccinated?

05.06.05 How many doses of the pediatric H1N1 vaccine are affected by this recall?

05.06.06 Were these lots of vaccine shipped after failing a required test?

05.06.07 Where can I get more information?

05.07  Voluntary Recall of Nasal Spray Vaccine for H1N1 Flu (Dec. 22, 2009) 

05.07.01 Why are some lots of the nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine being recalled from the market?

05.07.02 Are there any concerns about safety of vaccines from these lots?

05.07.03 Should people who received vaccines from these lots be revaccinated?

05.07.04 What action(s) should persons who have received vaccine from the recalled lots take?

05.07.05 What testing was performed on these lots of vaccine before they were released?

05.07.06 Where were the affected lots of vaccine distributed?

05.07.07 Where can I get more information about this non-safety recall?

06 H1N1 Schools (General Information)

06.01 What should a school do if a student comes to school with flu symptoms?

06.02 Is the school or day care required to notify parents about flu cases in their school?

06.03 Are teachers on the priority list for H1N1 vaccine?

06.04 How does CDC's new flu (influenza) guidance for schools differ from the previous school guidance documents?

06.05 Why should we be concerned about the spread of flu (influenza) in schools?

06.06 What can schools do to increase social distance during a more severe flu (influenza) outbreak?

06.07 Which students and staff are at higher risk for complications (negative or adverse effects) from flu (influenza)?

06.08 How will schools and communities decide what steps to take in the event of a flu (influenza) outbreak?

06.09 What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading flu (influenza)?

06.10 What steps can institutions of higher education take to keep students, faculty, and staff healthy and protect them from the H1N1 flu (influenza) and other flu illnesses?

06.11 What steps can child care programs take to keep children and child care staff healthy from H1N1 and other types of influenza (flu) during this season?

06.12 What is the daily health check that child care programs should perform to look for H1N1 and other types of influenza?

06.13 Does a child need a note from their health care provider to prove that they are healthy and can return to the child care program after having been sick with H1N1 or another type of influenza (flu)?

06.14 What options exist for parents if a child care program is closed due to H1N1 or other type of influenza (flu)?

07 H1N1 Travel (General Information)

07.01 I am sick with “the flu”. Can I travel?

07.02 Are there any travel restrictions? If so, what are they?

07.03 Is the United States screening travelers who arrive from other countries or depart for other countries?

07.04 Are other countries screening travelers visiting their country for H1N1 flu?

07.05 Which countries are currently experiencing outbreaks of H1N1 flu?

07.06 I recently traveled to Mexico or another country with confirmed H1N1 Flu.  Should I be concerned?

07.07 Should I avoid people who recently traveled to Mexico or other countries with confirmed H1N1 flu?

07.08 Do people returning from Mexico or other countries with confirmed H1N1 flu have to stay home even though they don’t have symptoms? If they have to stay home, how long before they can return to work?

07.09 What are CDC's recommendations regarding travel during the H1N1 flu outbreak?

07.10 I have a complaint about my airline policy or a domestic airline company policy because of an H1N1-related incident.

07.11 We will be traveling oversees and will be in the airport. Should we take the antiviral drug to protect ourselves from the H1N1 flu before we travel?

07.12 How do I find out if a sick passenger on my flight had the novel H1N1 flu?

08 H1N1 Legal Questions and Complaints

08.01 Can parents be forced to vaccinate their children?

08.02 What if I (or a family member) is denied flu vaccine?

08.03 Does an employer have the right to tell sick employees to stay home or tell them to go home if they come to work sick?

08.04 Do small businesses have to close when an employee has been diagnosed with H1N1 flu and the employee stays home?

08.05 Can an employer require an employee to get tested if they suspect the employee has H1N1 flu?

08.06 If a person has been exposed to someone with H1N1 flu, should they have to stay home from work even though they are not sick?

08.07 Can an employer send an ill employee home? Is there a law?

08.08 If an employee tests positive for H1N1 flu, are they obligated to tell their employer?  If they do, is the employer obligated to tell other employees?

08.09 CDC is recommending that I stay home if I have the flu. Will CDC provide assistance if my employer will not pay me, or fires me for missed work time?

08.10 Where can I send a letter of complaint?


California Department of Public Health, Office of Public Affairs

Updated 12/07/09

Last modified on: 8/26/2011 12:49 PM