What is Swine Flu?
The swine flu is also called the H1N1 and is a type of the influenza virus. Though it originated in pigs, it now spread from human to human contact. In 2009, this influenza type became a pandemic as it spread worldwide. Now with people developing immunity, it is more commonly seen during the flu season and also has symptoms of the same. This is a contagious disease and even a small sneeze can cause widespread damage as it quickly spreads from one human to another. Hence it is recommended that people stay away from infected people to stop transmission.
Swine Flu Symptoms
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to that of the seasonal flu. It includes:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body ache and fatigue
- Feeling tired and weak
- Sore throat
- Nausea and vomiting
In most cases, the symptoms of this disease are very mild and are like seasonal flu. But in rare cases, swine flu can also cause more serious problems. It can cause lung infection, breathing problems, and even pneumonia. It can also worsen chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma. Kids who have contracted this disease should be taken care of as it can lead to severe complications. Call your paediatrician immediately if you see shortness of breath, confusion, dizziness, severe vomiting, or pain in the belly.
Who is at Risk?
The swine flu risk factors are high in:
- People who spend more time in areas affected by swine flu
- Children under the age of 5 are at a high risk of this infection.
- Adults over 65 years of age are more prone to this flu.
- People with low immunity or compromised immunity due to AIDS are at risk.
- People with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neuromuscular diseases are at risk.
- Pregnant women
- Children and young adults under the age of 19 who are getting Bufferin therapy.
Swine Flu Causes
Swine flu of 2009 was caused due to a type of influenza A virus and was called H1N1. Later in 2011 another virus was detected and was called influenza A H3N2v virus. Another virus called the H3N2 has been detected, so there are different types of swine flu viruses that are similar and cause flu-like symptoms. The reasons for swine flu transmission is through human contact and not from eating pork products. It is contagious and spread by infected people who:
- Touch a surface that is covered by germs and then touching the nose or eyes.
- It can be spread a day before the infected person has symptoms or after 7 days after falling sick
- Kids can spread the infection for 10 days after falling sick.
How is Swine Flu Diagnosed?
The Swine flu diagnosis involves the following:
- A doctor will do an investigation of the patient’s history and association with people who have this sickness or symptoms.
- A Nasopharyngeal swab test is done to determine if it is influenza type A or B virus. A swab is used inside the nose or the back of the throat to collect the sample.
- If the test is positive for type A the person is said to have swine flu but since there is a reliability issue in such test, further tests may be required especially for those who are at high risk.
- A rapid test is a swine flu test based on PCR technology is performed on people with high risk to identify the antigens of the virus type. This test is done in specialized labs and not in the doctor’s office.
How is Swine Flu Treated?
- Swine flu treatment is similar to the treatment of seasonal flu. But it is essential to know the symptoms and get it treated within the first 48 hours so that it works best and effectively. The medicine for swine flu is the antiviral drugs that are used against the seasonal flu.
- You can also use OTC cold, flu, and pain medications to relieve from fever and pains. Children under the age of 18 should not use aspirin and instead see a swine flu doctor as they have a risk of Reye’s syndrome if medications contain aspirin.
- HINI vaccines are available and can be administered to prevent infections.
Contact our specialists at Cure.fit to know if you are suffering from flu or H1NI. To ask for advice on getting yourself and your child vaccinated against this contagious disease or to get swine flu cure book your online video consultation now!
How can Swine Flu be Prevented?
The best prevention of swine flu is through vaccination. Some of the other ways are:
- Staying away from infected areas or people who have this sickness
- Staying at home if you are ill to prevent it from spreading it to others
- Frequently use soap or hand sanitizers to wash hands.
- Avoid touching the nose and eyes
- Avoid large gatherings when there is a flu season
- Clean surfaces with disinfectants as the virus survive on tabletops, telephones, and other such places.
- Follow all the public health recommendations during the season where flu thrives
- Recognize the symptoms so that you can get it treated early.