Ask the OnCall+ Experts: Swine Flu

Question: Will an air purifier with a UV light help protect me from swine flu? Will a humidifier help?

Answer: There is no scientific proof (the literature, or any study) that suggests that ultraviolet light, a purifier or humidifier will help with preventing H1N1 infection.

- Ed Hsu, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Health Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center
(Posted: June 16, 2009)


Question: How can you tell the difference between regular seasonal flu and the swine flu? What do you do if you have the flu but can't tell the difference?

Answer: As of the day this response was written (June 5, 2009), the symptoms of swine flu appear to be very similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu. In fact, even doctors have little ability to tell the difference, says Dr. Matthew Sztajnkrycer, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Mayo Clinic. We encourage you to take a look at our index of questions and answers on swine flu symptoms for much more information. Take care.

Your Swine Flu Questions Answered

Question: If someone has recovered from swine flu, can they get it again?

Answer: They won't get that exact subtype, but could be infected with a variant that was sufficiently different from the original virus.

- Dr. Gregory Poland, Director, Translational Immunovirology and Biodefense, Mayo Clinic


Question: How do I go about disinfecting my home if someone in the household has swine flu?

Answer: I would take the usual precautions, asking the person to wear a mask when in common rooms. Be sure the room is well-ventilated. A simple solution of warm water and bleach is enough to clean commonly touched surfaces. (Be sure the bleach will not ruin the surface or color by testing first.) Or any cleaner that is viricidal.

- Dr. Gregory Poland, Director, Translational Immunovirology and Biodefense, Mayo Clinic


Question: How many Americans have died from swine flu?

Answer: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking such statistics. Click here to see a recent map of swine flu activity and the number of confirmed and probable cases by state (and deaths). You can also find a link to several other swine flu resources on our site by clicking here.


If you want to ask your own question about swine flu, go to the OnCall+ Swine Flu Center and look for the submission form. For more health information, go to Health.

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