Though swine flu isn’t as scary as it seemed over the past few years, everyone is concerned about it. While swine flu can be treated, it can cause serious health problems in some cases. Therefore, it is still important to stay protected from it. Here is everything which one needs to know about swine flu to prevent it.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine flu is referred as influenza in pigs. Since the H1N1 virus is responsible for the disease, it is also known as the H1N1 flu. Though swine flu originated from pigs, the virus is spread from person to person. People can catch swine flu in the same way as the seasonal flu. When people who have swine flu cough or sneeze, the virus gets into the air through the expelled droplets. If anyone comes into contact with these infected droplets or touches a surface where these droplets have landed or use anything that was recently used by an infected person, then he/she can catch swine flu.
What are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of regular seasonal flu. The symptoms are seen about one to three days after getting exposed to the virus. One with swine flu can have,
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Watery, red eyes
- Stuffy or a runny nose
How can Swine Flu be Diagnosed?
Flu virus infects the cells that line the nose, throat, and lungs. So, swine flu can be diagnosed by taking the nose or throat swab of a person. The sample is collected within the first five days of illness as this is the most infectious period of the disease. Within 15 minutes of the test, the result can be known.
Who are at a Higher Risk of getting Swine Flu?
Everyone has the risk of getting swine flu in the same way as for any other flu. People who spend most of their time in regions which have a crowd infected with swine flu are at higher risk of getting it. Some persons can be seriously ill when they are infected with swine flu, these include:
- Children under 5 years
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic illness such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes or neuromuscular disease
- Adults ages over 65 years
- Children under 19 who are receiving a long-term aspirin therapy
- People with suppressed immune systems
How can Swine Flu be Treated?
In general, swine flu doesn’t require any medication for the treatment. People who are infected with swine flu should focus on relieving their symptoms and preventing the spread of the virus to other people. Infected people should visit a doctor when they are at a risk of developing other complications from the flu.
To treat swine flu, the doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to people who are at a risk of developing complications from the flu. Healthy people with great immunity, if infected with swine flu, will be able to fight the infection on their own.
How can Swine Flu be Prevented?
The best way to prevent swine flu is to get a flu vaccination every year without fail. Apart from this, one can stay protected from swine flu by following some preventive measures which include:
- Using a hand sanitizer or frequent hand washing
- Staying away from infected persons
- Avoiding large crowds when swine flu is in the season
- Wearing a surgical mask that helps in reducing the risk of getting infected
- Covering nose and mouth when someone coughs or sneezes, this can avoid liquid droplets packed with the virus to expel on you.
Limiting touch to eyes, mouth, and nose can avoid virus to enter the respiratory tract that causes the flu.