Swine flu is influenza of the pigs. In some very rare cases it gets transmitted to the humans. It is one of the most contagious respiratory diseases. It is one of the several viruses of influenza A named as H1N1 virus that causes this flu. The disease usually spreads in pigs either through direct or indirect contact. Swine flu produces most of the same symptoms in pigs as human flu produces in people. The most common way in which a human can get this virus is by coming in contact with the pigs.
Swine influenza is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from people sneezing or coughing. In several parts of the world pigs are given vaccines for swine flu. It is also referred to as H1N1 virus. Earlier H1N1 influenza was affecting the most of the humans but since 2017, influenza H3N2 has overtaken H1N1 as a more dominant strain.
In the year 2010 the scientists around the world declared it as a pandemic. The incubation period for swine flu is about one to seven days. Mild H1N1 can last for seven days but severe swine flu may require hospitalization, isolation that increases the length of time of infection to 10 days or more. It is now considered as normal seasonal flu and vaccines are available for this flu.
The signs and symptoms which may be experienced by a person suffering from the condition of H1N1 are inclusive of
The symptoms of swine flu develop within a span of two to three days after a person gets exposed to the virus. The symptoms are also similar to strains of flu.
For a human to get infected from swine flu there are only a few causes. These causes are given below
The most common way through which a human can get infected with H1N1 is by coming in contact with a pig that has the infection. Any kind of the contact with the infected pig is good enough transmit the virus.
If a person has travels to the area which has maximum number of infected people then it is highly likely that he/she might have been exposed to the virus. Veterinarians and swine farmers are at the highest risk of exposure of H1N1.
Some of the precautions which must be followed to prevent the infection of H1N1 are inclusive of the following
For diagnosing H1N1 a doctor would first conduct a physical examination of the patient to observe the signs and the symptoms. There are various tests at the disposal of the doctor for confirming the diagnosis of flu. But every flu is not require any test. A doctor might prescribe a diagnostic test if a person is admitted in the hospital, there are huge complications due to flu, and if you are living with a person who already as a flu. The doctor may also test for various other medical conditions.
For confirming the diagnosis of swine flu, a doctor may order a rapid influenza diagnostic test which looks for antigens. A swab sample is taken either from the back of the throat or from the nose. The results of the test are available within 15 minutes, but they are not accurate all the time.
The majority of people who are suffering from H1N1 only need relief from the symptoms. If a person is suffering from a chronic disease of the respiratory tract then some additional medications might be prescribed by the doctors. FDA has approved four antivirals for the treatment of swine flu. These medications are prescribed as soon as a person is diagnosed with the disease so that the symptoms do not get worse. The medications prescribed by FDA are
The doctor usually reserves some of the antivirals for the people who are at the highest risk of developing any complications.
There are some steps which can be taken at home to prevent the H1N1. These steps also help in reducing the symptoms of the swine flu if by any chance a person comes in contact with the virus. These steps include
Yes the H1N1 vaccine is available in India in the form of tablets, injections and nasal sprays. Nasovac and Tamiflu are mostly prescribed in India for the treatment of swine flu.