Date Last Reviewed: August 25, 2017

Mom and Baby wearing medical masks
No swine flu, please. Photo by Austin Keys.

In 2009 the outbreak of disease in people caused by a new influenza virus of swine origin (H1N1) became a pandemic globally.  In 2010, the World Health Organization declared an end to the pandemic, but expect that the H1N1 virus will continue to spread for years to come, like a regular seasonal influenza virus. The following resources were developed as a response to the 2009 outbreak.

Flu

CDC - Resources - Immigrant and Refugee Health
CDC’s page with flu information produced in languages common among the refugee communities in the US.

Flu - Multiple Languages
This site has a variety of flu resources in multiple languages.

Public Health – Seattle & King County

Influenza Fact Sheets available in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese.

Preparedness comic book - Pandemic Flu
Targeting readers of all ages, this story tells the tale of a family’s experience with the 1918 influenza pandemic. It also explains what to expect in a severe pandemic and offers tips to help households prepare. The comic book is available online in PDF format and free hard copies are available to order. Available in 23 languages.

Swine Flu (H1N1)

In 2009, a new influenza virus of swine origin circulated in the United States and internationally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the H1N1 virus that caused that pandemic is now a regular human flu virus that continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.  The current flu vaccine provides protection against the H1N1 strain.

For more information about this flu, please see the CDC website .

Harborview Medical Center – Swine Flu Videos

In an effort to reach the immigrant and refugee populations during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, some video resources were created to provide information in languages other than English.  These videos were done by Harborview Medical Center and narrated by medical interpreters at HMC.  These videos are provided for reference purposes and they are approximately 5-7 minutes in length (see sidebar).

The following is the English translation for the Swine Flu videos:

Hello I’m ________, an interpreter here at Harborview,

Many of you are aware there is a new cough/illness that people are talking about and calling “swine-flu” and sometimes “H1N1″. You may be confused about this and we want to tell you a few key points.”

For those of you who avoid pork and pork products the name seems misleading. This flu has nothing to do with contact with pigs.  You cannot get this from eating pork. The virus normally infects pigs, but somehow changed and was able to infect people. That is why it carries that name.

The sickness is caused by a virus that is very similar to the regular flu and often difficult to distinguish. The person can have cough, sneezing, sore throat, fevers, chills, and in some case nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. If you have these symptoms it could be swine flu or it might be regular flu or even just be a bad cold. The only way to tell is to do special tests, but not everyone needs these.

The infection is passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing and breathing in the virus. You could also spread it by getting it on your hands and touching your mouth or nose or eyes without realizing it.  Therefore, washing your hands and covering your cough are the most important things you can do to prevent getting sick or giving it to your family and friends.

This can not be emphasized enough. Tell your family and friends to:

  • wash hands frequently
  • cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing or cough into your elbow like this,
  • keep sputum in tissues and in the trash,
  • keep sick family in rooms away from others. Especially keep sick people away from babies, old people, and people who are chronically ill. 

Theses are the reasons to come to see the doctor:

  • If you are having trouble breathing
  • If you have a cough and a high fever
  • If you are extremely, unusually tired
  • If you are unable to eat food or liquids without throwing up or having diarrhea

These symptoms are most dangerous to people over 65 or people who have diabetes, kidney, liver or other medical problems.

It is very important that you do not come to see your doctor for an unscheduled appointment unless you are seriously ill.  If many people who are not seriously ill come to the doctor, the doctor will not have the time she needs to take care of very sick patients. 

In order to protect you and others when you come to clinic, we would ask you to do the following things:

  • If you have a cough now, identify yourself to the front desk and put on a mask.
  • You will be asked to have your temperature taken quickly. Please let the staff known if you have been feverish at home.
  • Please do not be offended if you are asked to sit in isolation until we can evaluate you thoroughly.
  • We do not treat mild cases or cases that have been ongoing for several days. In this case we may give you medicine for comfort and then ask you to go home and stay as isolated as possible to allow your body to recover. Return only if you are unable to eat or drink, are having difficulty breathing, or are very ill.
  • Make sure we have a current phone number or means of contacting you so that we can tell you your test results or other information you need to know.
  • Send family or a designated friend to get you refills and Tylenol.

Most cases of swine flu in this country have been mild, and if we are careful we can limit the spread.

Thanks for your attention.

Related Websites with Translated Swine Flu Resources

ECHO - Minnesota Department of Public Health has created video, audio, print and other resources on H1N1 and Flu in multiple languages. 

MedlinePlus
Click on Health Topics to find H1N1 – currently only have Spanish translation.

Selected Patient Information in Asian Languages (SPIRAL) | Swine Flu: This site has a some additional links to Asian language resources.