Swine Flu which is also known as H1N1 flu is caused by H1N1 virus. Years ago when it came to the world it was seen in people who lived near pigs, hence it got the name swine flu. But it changed several years ago, as people who had not been near pigs also suffered with swine flu. It is more common in children around 5 years and older and young adults.

Who are at high risk?

  • Children under 5 years old

  • Adults over 65 years of age

  • Immunocompromised people due to diseases such as AIDS

  • Pregnant women

  • People who have diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease etc.

What can cause swine flu:

Transmission usually occurs from person to person and not from animal to person. People who have Swine Flu can spread it one day before they have any symptoms to 7-10 days after they get sick.

The disease can be spread by

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Touching a germ covered surface

Symptoms:

Symptoms are very much like regular flu which includes

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Body Aches

  • Fever with chills

  • Runny nose

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea and vomitings

  • Easy fatigability

  • Headache

 

It can also cause severe and serious problems like lung infection, breathing problems etc.  People with diabetes and asthma must be very careful as it can make the illness worse.

We can diagnose Swine Flu mostly through the symptoms, but as a quick test there is Rapid influenza Diagnostic test which can help identify swine flu.

Treatment and prevention:

  • There are some drugs which can effectively decrease the severity of the swine flu. Most people with Swine Flu can recover completely without any treatment.

  • Antibiotics are not prescribed in Swine Flu as it is caused by a virus and not bacteria. They are only prescribed if there is an underlying infection.

  • To prevent dehydration drinking lots of liquids is helpful.

  • Taking good rest by getting plenty of sleep and managing stress is also important.

  • Flu vaccine which is supposed to protect against seasonal flu is also helpful and works against H1N1 Swine Flu strain.

  • Hygiene plays an important role from preventing many health issues.

  • Washing hands with soap and water are using a hand sanitizer is always. recommended.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with bare hands.

  • As Swine Flu is a contagious disease,  avoiding contact with the people who are  sick and high risk is very important.

  • Covering the mouth while coughing or sneezing helps to reduce the spread.

  • Avoiding school or work when you are sick can also reduce the spread.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/h1n1-flu-virus-swine-flu#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/swine-flu#symptoms

-Dr.Y. Alekhya.

 

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