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Last Updated: June 29, 2019
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Overview of Swine Flu or H1N1 Flu: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Precautions

What do you Know About Swine Flu?

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.

What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Swine Flu?

The signs and symptoms which may be experienced by a person suffering from the condition of H1N1 are inclusive of

  • A person might have sore throat.

  • A person might have fever.

  • The eyes of the infected person become watery and red.

  • A person might experience tiredness.

  • There will be body ache in the infection person.

  • A person might experience nausea and vomiting.

  • A person might experience chills.

  • An infected person might have runny nose and cough.

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.

What are the Root Causes of Swine 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.

  • As it is a contagious disease so if a person suffering from this influenza comes in contact with the other person the chances of this disease increase by many folds. It usually happens to people of closed groups like family members.

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.

What are Precautions from Swine Flu?

Some of the precautions which must be followed to prevent the infection of H1N1 are inclusive of the following

  • If a person has flu then he/she must restrict himself/herself to the home so that he/she is not exposed to other people.

  • Washing hands properly is very important. Making use of water and soap or a hand sanitizer is highly recommended.

  • A person should cover his/her mouth while sneezing or coughing. It is always better to wear a face mask. A tissue should be used while coughing or sneezing so that the hands do not get contaminated.

  • A person should stay away from the crowd to reduce the risk of getting infected or spreading the infection.

How to Diagnose Swine Flu?

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.

What are the Treatment of Swine Flu?

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

  • Peramivir

  • Baloxavior

  • Zanamivir

  • Oseltamivir

The doctor usually reserves some of the antivirals for the people who are at the highest risk of developing any complications.

What are the Home Remedies for Swine Flu?

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

  • Drinking plenty of fluids.

  • Maintain a balanced diet

  • A person should manage the stress levels

  • A person should exercise regularly

  • Washing hands regularly with soap and water.

  • Making use of hand sanitizer.

  • Restricting oneself from touching the surface that might have the virus.

  • Refrain from going close to the people who are already infected with the virus.

  • Stay away from the crowded area in case of an outbreak in your area.

Is Swine Flu Prevention Vaccine Available in India?

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.

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symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of infections caused by other flu strains and can include: Fever (but not always) Chills. Cough. Sore throat. Runny or stuffy nose. Watery, red eyes. Body aches. Headache. its better to consult doctor
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