Swine flu – All you need to know

Swine flu or H1N1 virus is also known as pig flu, hog flu and this is a new strain of an influenza virus that has symptoms similar to regular flu. This flu caused the death of 1,895 people and 31,974 cases were reported till March 20, 2015, according to the data released by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

This 2015 outbreak in India was mostly centred in the western states like Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. After this outbreak in India, neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Nepal also experienced outbreaks.

Recently in the months of July and October 2016 the Swine flu seems to have made a comeback, as reported by many Indian newspapers. The current strain of H1N1 virus seems to have mutated and become more violent thereby proving to be a bigger threat to human life. A few cases have been reported in cities like Ahmedabad, Hyderabad etc. there by creating fear and panic among the Indian citizens.

Here I will give you the well-researched, much needed information summarized taking help from http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm, and other resources on this influenza, thereby protecting you from contracting this flu.

What causes Swine flu?

A strain of influenza virus that generally affects pigs only is the cause of swine flu, but this can be transmitted from one person to another and not by animal to person. Contrary to common belief swine flu cannot be contracted by eating pork or pork products.

This flu is very contagious and spread by the mucus and saliva of the infected person and these fluids get transferred if the infected person coughs, sneezes or touches a germ infested area then proceed to put the finger in the mouth or nose.

What are the symptoms of Swine flu?

Swine flu’s symptoms are quite similar to that of regular influenza and these symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, body aches, chills, fatigue, runny nose and diarrhoea. The first symptoms are cold and cough therefore many ignore them thinking that they are common; this should not be done especially if there is an outbreak of swine flu in an area near you.

Who are in risk of contracting swine flu?

Swine flu was usually found in young adults when it first emerged but now there are a certain age group and type of people who can contract this disease quite easily, especially in crowds, therefore have to take extra precaution. Those people are

  • Children under 5 as they have still developing immune system
  • Adults over 65 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have a compromised immune system due to a disease (like AIDs) or the treatment of a disease (like chemotherapy).
  • People suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, asthma etc.

How to diagnose swine flu?

If you have contracted swine flu then it can be determined by a simple swab of your nose or throat. This swab is analysed in laboratory using various techniques to determine if a particular type of virus indicating presence of swine flu is present.

How is swine flu treated?

Generally swine flu does not need any medicines for treatment but if you’re at the risk of developing any complication due to the flu then medication must be administered. Zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are the two antiviral oral drugs recommend for the treatment of swine flu for people at the risk of complication, these medication must be taken when prescribed by a doctor. For healthy individual your immune system is enough to fight off the disease.

How to manage swine flu?

Swine flu can be managed in a few simple methods and those are

  • Getting plenty of rest thereby allowing the immune system to fight the flu virus without any distractions.
  • In case of sore throat and headache take over the counter medicines.
  • In order to prevent dehydration make sure to drink plenty of fluids like water but fluids like soup and juices are highly recommended because they provide nutrients and nourishment to body.

How to prevent swine flu?

Getting yearly swine flu vaccines is the best preventive measure but there are also some simple methods and those are

  • Avoid touching dirty surfaces like phones, table etc. and the touching your nose, mouth or eyes.
  • Keep your hands clean by frequently washing or sanitizing them
  • If you are unwell then take it easy and stay at home
  • In the wake of an swine flu outbreak it is best to avoid large gatherings

Follow a healthy personal hygiene and get tested or checked when you have just a few symptoms, so do not procrastinate.

Swine flu is not usually sever but can escalate very fast thereby giving you no time to treat it. Many do not take this flu seriously but it is high time you do so maybe not for yourself but for your family.

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