Facts About Swine Flu

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What is Swine Flu?

Swine Flu aka H1N1 Influenza is a respiratory disease. This disease has similar genes to that found in outbreaks in pigs caused by ‘Type A influenza virus’. As the disease can transmit from pigs to humans, the disease got the name ‘Swine Flu’.

Earlier Trend: Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person. However, in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Current Trend: Person-to-person transmission is evidenced widely this year (2009) and als the flu spreads quite rapidly.

Is the current H1N1 virus contagious?

Various International health agencies across the globe have determined that the H1N1 Influenza virus is highly contagious and spread from human to humans.

World Health Organization (WHO) which monitors and provides guidance to countries across the globe, has escalated the current H1N1 Influenza Pandemic to Phase VI (in a 6-phase scale), indicating that a worldwide pandemic is occurring due to the rapid spread of the H1N1 virus among humans

Symptoms

 The symptoms of swine flu are similar to that of regular flu, such as:

1) fever

2) cough

3) sore throat

4) running nose

5) headache

6) body pain

7) fatigue

8) chills

9) vomitting

10) diarrhea

How does the swine flu spread?

The swine flu spreads similar to the way how the normal flu spreads. Swine flu mainly spreads from person to person if an infected person sneezes or cough infront of another person. The flu transmits through very minute particles excreted and such particles can settle on hard surfaces such switches, taps, door knobs, tables, etc. Sometimes, it also spreads if a person touches some of these objects and then touhes his nose or mouth without properly cleaning his hands. Please note that these germs can stay alive upto two hours on such hard surfaces.

Who is at major risk?

 The following category of people are at high risk due to this virus:

1) Young children who are less than five years old

2) Pregnant women

3) Old people

4) People having some particular dieseases such as cance, HIV/AIDs, diabetes, heart disease, and neurological disorders

How to prevent swine flu?

As of now, there is no vaccine available in the market that can prevent the swine flu. A lot of pharmaceutical companies are currently doing research on this and ideally the vaccines should be available by this year end (2009).

Tamiflu or Relenza can be used to control further spread of the virus on the body. These medicines can be consumed only at the initial stages, that too only under medical advice. Please note that these antiviral drugs can only make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.

How to protect yourself from swine flu?

How to protect yourself from swine flu or H1N1 influenza? Follow some of the methods that are mentioned below:

1) When you sneeze or cough, ensure that you cover your nose and mouth. Also, please ensure that throw the tissue in the trash after using it.

2) Ensure you wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after cough and sneeze.

3) Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

4) Don’t get in close contact with the people who are already infected.

5) Eat plenty of nutrious food and fluids

6) Have enough sleep

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