What is Swine (H1N1) Flu?
Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease caused by viruses (influenza viruses) that infect the respiratory tract of pigs. It was called swine flu because the virus closely resembled known influenza viruses that cause illness in pigs. All of the influenza A viruses have a similar structure to H1N1 virus; just that each type has a somewhat different H and/or N structure.
How Swine Flu Transmitted ?The H1N virus spreads in exactly the same way as the common cold and other flu viruses. Swine flu is contagious, and it spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu. It spreads when people cough or sneeze, through tiny drops of the virus into the air. These droplets typically spread about 1 metre (3 feet). They hang suspended in the air for a while, but then land on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours. If you come in contact with these drops or touch a surface that an infected person has recently touched, you can have H1N1 swine flu.
Anyone who touches these surfaces can spread the virus by touching anything else. Despite the name, you will not have swine flu from eating bacon, ham, or any other pork product.
Symptoms of Swine Flu :People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms and as many as 7 days after they get sick. Kids can suffer for as long as 10 days.
Most symptoms are the same as seasonal flu. They include:
- sore throat
- stuffy or runny nose
- body aches
Like seasonal flu, swine flu can lead to more serious complications, including pneumonia and respiratory failure. Conditions like diabetes or asthma can become worse.
How to Diagnosis Swine Flu ?Swine flu is presumptively diagnosed clinically by the patient's history of association with people known to have the disease and their symptoms listed above. Usually, a quick test (for example, nasopharyngeal swab sample) is done to see if the patient is infected with influenza A or B virus. Most of the tests can distinguish A and B types. If the test is positive for type B, the flu is not likely to be swine flu. If it is positive for type A, the person may have a conventional flu strain or swine flu. Diagnosis of this disease can be done through nose or throat’s sample.
Treatment of Swine Flu ?Best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches.
If further treatment is needed or complications develop, medication is available to treat the flu. This includes:
- antiviral medications – oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir(Relenza) help relieve symptoms and reduce the effects of influenza A and B symptoms.
- antibiotics – to combat bacterial infections such as pneumonia, which may occur as a complication of influenza.
Swine Flu Vaccination :The same flu vaccine that protects against seasonal flu also protects against the H1N1 swine flu strain. Shot or as a nasal spray is usually given.
Swine Flu Prevention:Here are some tips to prevent it:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid people who are sick.