H5n1 Avian Flu Emergencies

Recognizing the bird flu can be difficult, since the H5N1 flu shares some of the same symptoms as the common flu. This makes it very important to understand and weigh H5N1 risk flu risk factors if you’re wondering what’s causing your flu symptoms. If you’re experiencing avian flu symptoms, and you’re at risk for the disease, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor.

Recognizing the Bird Flu

As previously mentioned, the bird flu often mimics a regular flu. However, there are some symptoms that are more specific to the H5N1 flu, including:

  • A high fever (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing and speaking
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Eye infection
  • Extreme nausea
  • Severe coughing.

If you are experiencing these combined symptoms, you should seek medical attention, especially if you are at high risk for the disease.

Risk factors for avian flu include:

  • Coming into contact with a dead bird or bird feces
  • Coming into contact with a person with bird flu
  • Coming into contact with potentially-infected poultry that hasn’t been cleaned or cooked properly
  • Spending time on a farm outside the United States
  • Traveling to a country with known cases of bird flu
  • Visiting an international farmer’s market and handling potentially infected poultry.

The transmission of H5N1 between humans is rare, but possible. Even if you only suspect that you have the H5N1 flu, you may want to make efforts to prevent the spread of germs before your diagnosis. This includes:

  • Covering your mouth when you cough
  • Limiting your contact with others
  • Washing your hands regularly.

Seeking Preemptive Medical Help for Bird Flu

In some instances, it may be necessary to seek medical attention before full H5N1 flu symptoms arise. In some cases, a minor cough or fever may indicate the onset of bird flu.

If you have mild flu symptoms, and you’ve recently traveled to a country that has reported cases of the H5N1 flu, you may wish to seek medical attention before your symptoms worsen. Likewise, anyone who has recently come in contact with a sick bird should also contact a doctor.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Staff. (2010). Key facts about avian influenza (bird flu) and avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the CDC Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm.

World Health Organization (WHO) Staff. (2005). Avian influenza frequently asked questions. Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the WHO Web site: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/avian_faqs/en/.