The Swine Flu Pandemic: Everything you need to know

swine flu

The year 2009 marked the beginning of swine flu and since then, this seasonal pandemic has been claiming lives in India every year. On a positive note, swine flu could be treated or prevented from aggravating when detected in its initial stages. Few preventive measures, lifestyle changes and practices, regular health checks is what you’ll need to treat H1N1 flu in the initial stages. After all, prevention is always better than cure.

The recent outbreak of Swine Flu in some parts of India is an indication that it’s high time to take action and raise awareness on preventing swine flu. Read this article for a few actionable tips and Mythbusters straight from the expert’s mouth.

H1N1: Taking the Mystery Out of H1N1

Swine flu got its name as the flu virus genes detected were very similar to the ones that caused influenza among pigs (swine). Influenza viruses mutate in a way that allows it to cause the condition in humans. Since humans have no natural protection or immunity to the virus, they are more likely to become ill.

However, we now know that the H1N1 flu virus is made up of genes from several different flu viruses that normally circulate among pigs, birds, and humans.

Modes of Transmission

Swine flu virus is contagious and is easily spread among people. The duration when a person infected with H1N1 flu virus could infect others ranges from Day 1 before symptoms develop, up to 7 or more days after becoming ill.

The virus is spread from person to person when the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, and/or mouth. It could also rest on hard surfaces like doorknobs, ATM buttons, and counters. A person who encounters these surfaces with their hands and then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose could get infected with the virus. In such scenarios, make sure that you wear a mask in public places. Be cautious not to touch your mouth, eyes or nose until you wash your hands.

MythBusters on Swine Flu

Influenza is not spread by direct contact.

The flu is transmitted only by the air, possibly when the infected person coughs or sneezes and not by direct contactunless the affected person has touched his nose or mouth with his hand.

Flu is not spread by the food we eat

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Influenza virus is not spread by the food we eat. For instance, while the H1N1 virus affects pigs, it cannot be spread by eating safely-handled, thoroughly-cooked pork. No changes to cooking time or temperature have been advised.

However, it must be noted that anyone who handles food (from a person cooking at home to farm workers to chefs to wait staff at restaurants) must follow safe food-handling guidelines. The virus spreads only when the handler touches anyone’s eyes, nose or mouth after handling the food. Frequent hand-washing, sticking to cooking times and temperatures, and proper scrubbing and washing of fresh produce are some of the practices that must be kept in mind while handling the food.

Flu-related symptoms

The symptoms of Swine flu are like any other flu. It thus becomes difficult to determine whether you have a swine flu or just an ordinary flu. However, if the symptoms persist for more than 10 days, it is highly recommended that you visit the doctor to test for swine flu.

The symptoms of Swine Flu primarily includes:

  • chills
  • fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • fatigue
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    Patients are generally tested for swine flu by collecting respiratory samples and running it through polymerase chain reaction (PCR), rapid antigen test, or immunofluorescence assay. Real-Time PCR assay is based on the detection of 4 targets in the sample namely influenza A, H1 Influenza A, H1 Influenza A (Subtype H1) & Human RNase P gene which serves as a positive control for the presence of human nucleic acids.

    As for the treatment, the most common drugs prescribed by doctors for Swine Flu are the: oral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). These drugs are only administered to people who have high risk of the complications. Otherwise, the bodies of healthy people generally have the tendency to able to fight the infection on their own.

    Preventive measures

    Avoid travel to places with the Swine Flu outbreak

    Keep yourself updated with news related to swine flu outbreak and avoid travel to those places. Swine Flu is extremely contagious and spreads rather quickly in the air we breathe.

    Get the preventive H1N1 dosage every year

    Turns out, swine flu hits every year across different countries and so it could be termed as seasonal. You could avoid the risk by administering the H1cold atne every year. However, you need to make sure that you don’t have any flu or cold at the time of administering the flu shot.

    Don’t neglect planning

    If you find yourself affected with flu-related symptoms, it’s advisable to stay at home rather than rushing to work/school. A good amount of rest is the golden rule to escape you from the clutches of the deadly disease. Plus, it’s also your social responsibility to help curb the infection from spreading to the public.

    Maintain hygiene

    Make sure that you maintain hygiene at home. Unwashed utensils, restrooms are places where germs breed in plenty. If you are a parent, teach your kid the habit of washing hands before eating food.

    Superfoods that prevent Flu

    Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C. Oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables are all good natural sources. According to experts, adults need to consume 200 milligrams of Vitamin C daily.

    Along with Vitamin C, you can consume a few superfoods that not only boost your immunity, but also helps you fight flu-related diseases. There’s a reason why our grandmothers adopted these practices in their daily lives.

  • Five duly washed leaves of Tulsi every day:
  • 2 to 3 pods of garlic with warm water
  • A glass of hot or warm milk with a pinch of turmeric in it
  • A teaspoon of aloe vera gel
  • If you need expert guidance on swine flu, use Klinikals app to book an appointment with a doctor or call 1800 1212 172.

    Stay healthy and be aware.

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