Swine Flu: What to Know

Swine flu is a respiratory disease that spreads from pigs to people, and may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Learn everything you can about swine flu so you can recognise its symptoms and know how to prevent it.

By URLife Team
18 Apr 2024

As per the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and can spread from human to human. 

Swine flu was considered the first pandemic of the 21st century during 2009-10 by the World Health Organisation. During the flu season of 2009-2010, a new type of flu virus called H1N1, also known as swine flu, emerged and started infecting people. The name swine flu came from the fact that the virus was a combination of flu viruses that usually affected pigs, birds, and humans. Before 2009, this virus had never caused infections in people. Tests revealed that it originated from flu viruses in animals and was different from the common human flu viruses that had been around since 1977. 


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What Are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?

Swine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the H1N1 virus. Common symptoms include: 

  • Fever 
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat 
  • Runny or stuffy nose 
  • Body aches 
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue 
  • Chills 
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting (sometimes)


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Your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms, including any recent travel or exposure to sick individuals. They will also consider your clinical presentation, medical history, and any relevant risk factors when making a diagnosis of swine flu. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect you may have swine flu. 

  • Rapid Flu Test: Your provider may order a rapid flu test, which checks for several different strains of the flu virus, including H1N1. This test is usually done using a nasal or throat swab and can provide results within minutes.
  • PCR Testing: In some cases, your healthcare provider may send a sample of respiratory secretions (collected from a nasal or throat swab) to a laboratory for confirmatory testing, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. PCR testing can identify specific strains of the flu virus, including H1N1, with greater accuracy. However, it may take a few days to receive the results of these tests.


Related story: 7 Ways You Can Avoid Getting Cold


Treatments for Swine Flu

Most people recover from H1N1 without needing extensive medical intervention. However, in certain cases, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medications. These drugs can help shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce their severity. If you're generally healthy and develop flu symptoms, you may not need to see a healthcare provider. 

The following are some treatments for swine flu:

  • Antiviral Medications: Prescription antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are effective against swine flu if taken within the first 48 hours of symptom onset. These medications can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.
  • Symptomatic Relief: Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help relieve fever, body aches, and headaches. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting adequate rest are also important for recovery.
  • Seek Medical Attention: If symptoms worsen or if you are at high risk for complications (such as pregnant women, young children, elderly individuals, or those with underlying health conditions), seek medical care promptly.


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Lifestyle Remedies for Swine Flu

Individuals with swine flu should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are experiencing symptoms, and possibly for up to 7 days after the onset of illness. Infected individuals need to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus to others, such as practising good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home from school or work until they are no longer contagious.

1. Getting plenty of rest helps your body fight off the infection and recover more quickly.
2. Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal tea, or electrolyte-replenishing drinks, to stay hydrated and help loosen congestion.
3. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains supports your immune system and overall health.
4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces in public places.
5. Get vaccinated annually to protect against swine flu and other strains of influenza.
6. Avoid close contact with sick individuals, and stay home from work or school if you are sick to prevent spreading the virus to others.
7. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.


Related story: Dengue Fever: All You Need To Know

Vaccine for Swine Flu

The seasonal flu vaccine typically includes protection against H1N1 influenza strains, including swine flu. It is recommended that everyone over six months of age receive an annual flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for complications. The vaccine helps reduce the risk of getting infected with swine flu and can also lessen the severity of symptoms if you do get sick. 


By following these guidelines and seeking medical care if necessary, you can reduce the risk of contracting swine flu and minimise its impact on your health and well-being. Take these measures seriously and to follow the advice of medical professionals.  If you're generally healthy and develop flu symptoms, you may not need to see a healthcare provider. However, some individuals are at higher risk of experiencing flu complications, and they should seek medical attention if they develop symptoms.


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Anjaneya 18 Apr 2024

???? HAPPY


Anjaneya 18 Apr 2024


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