-Merina Dumuru,BN Student
Brief Introduction to Swine Flu
Swine flu,also known as the H1N1 virus, declared a pandemic i.e, disease affecting the people throughout the world in 2009 .It’s called swine flu because the people who caught it had direct contact with pig in past but after several years ago, new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn’t been near pigs.It isn’t as scary as it seemed a few years ago but still important to protect yourself from getting it. Like seasonal flu, it can cause more serious health problems .
Cause of Swine Flu
The swine flu is caused by a strain of influenza virus that usually only infects pigs.It is highly contagious which can be spread very quickly from person to person. A simple sneeze can cause thousands of germs to spread through the air.The disease is spread through saliva and mucus particles. People may spread them by:
- touching a germ-covered surface and then touching their eyes or nose
- The virus can also linger on surface of different things like table chair, door knobs.
People with swine flu can be highly contagious a day before they have any symptoms, and as many as 7 days after they get sick whereas kids can be contagious for 10 days long too.
Most of the symptoms of swine flu very similar with seasonal flu. They can include:
- sore throat
- stuffy or runny nose
- body aches
- Chills and
More over it can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and later to the respiratory failure. Also it can worsen the conditions diabetes , asthma . If there is severe symptoms like shortness of breath, severe vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, or confusion, emergency with expert treatment is must..
This swine flu is generally unusual because it doesn’t target the same age group as other typical flu . This disease focuses on young adults. This is unusual as because most other flu viruses attack those who are elderly or very young. Some form of immunity to swine flu may exist in elder person due to previous exposures to flu.
Some other risk f/actors for swine flu includes followings:
- compromised immune system (from a disease such as AIDS, chemotherapy and radiotherapy taken people)
- past history of infections
Diagnosis of swine flu simply done by sampling fluid from those with swine flu . Sample is taken as a swab from nose or throat and then swab will be checked as rapid test for differentiating influenza A or B viral infection. This is not very accurate for H1N1 then specific test for that virus is required. The turnaround time for the test is 36 hours, and by then the decision to admit the patient for care or to use anti-viral medications has already is made.
The CDC recommends that healthcare workers in contact with swine flu or suspected swine flu patients take precautions such as:
- wearing gloves and/or gowns
- using eye protection
- wearing face masks
- People with known cases of swine flu should be isolated to prevent the spread of H1N1.
The vaccine may be given through an injection or nasal spray. The vaccine is a preventive measure.
Side effects of the vaccine are minor and may include: fever,aches,mild soreness at the injection site
The oral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is the current recommended medication for swine flu. It’s an antiviral drug used to treat influenza infections. This drug, or sometimes zanamivir is used as treatment for people who have been exposed to swine flu in the last 48 hours, or if they’re suspected of having swine flu. These drugs aren’t used as a preventive measure for swine flu.
Easy ways to prevent swine flu include:
- frequently washing hands with soap or use of hand sanitizer
- not touching your nose, mouth, or eyes (the virus can survive on telephones, tabletops, etc.)
- staying home from work or school if you’re ill
- avoiding large gatherings when swine flu is in season.