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Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Swine Flu

  • Posted on- Mar 21, 2015
  • 2247 Views

Human swine flu is a deadly respiratory disease caused by a new breed of influenza virus. Warning signs of human swine flu include cough, cold, sore throat, running fever, weakness and body ache. It is commonly known as H1N1 virus or human swine influenza.

The name ‘swine flu’ is originated from a virus usually found in pigs. It struck the world in 2009 and many cases of human swine flu were reported. It spread so fast that the WHO (World Health Organization) then declared it a pandemic. However, in 2010 it was declared non-existent. But recently it has hit the Indian shores and with venom. According to the Indian Health Ministry, more than 1700 have died across the country while 30,000 are still recuperating. The numbers are rising each day. Therefore, it becomes quintessential to know in detail about the virus and how can we survive this attack.

What causes swine flu?

H1N1 flu is transmittable and it spreads the same way as the normal flu. When people suffering from H1N1 flu, cough or sneezes, they spill little drops of virus in the air. If you happen to come in contact or touch a surface that an infected person has touched, you are bound to catch swine flu, depending on your immunity. However, as the name may suggest, it is not caused by eating pork or pork products.

Symptoms of swine flu

Symptoms of swine flu are identical to that of a seasonal flu. In most of the cases, symptoms show up within 2-3 days. They are:

H1N1 virus attack can lead to severe health conditions including respiratory failure and pneumonia. Plus it can make asthma or diabetes worse.

How swine flu is diagnosed?

Visit your doctor as soon as you start experiencing flu-like symptoms. You must alert the support staff before honoring your appointment so that they can make necessary changes and prevent other patients too. Diagnosis may include:

Children below 5 years, people over 65 years, pregnant women, children with weak immune system are susceptible to life-threatening health conditions from the swine flu.

How is swine flu treated?

Drugs, namely Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) work best, when taken under 48 hours of flu symptoms. They also help, if taken at a later stage. Antibiotics are of no use because it’s a virus after all and not bacteria. Over-the-counter medicines can relieve bodyache, pain and fever. It’s better to stay at home when flu-like symptoms show up. Drink plenty of liquids and have rest. Keep your mouth and nose covered to keep people, around you, safe.

Besides medication, there are certain things you can do to stay healthy:
  • Good hygiene is important so wash your hands the whole day or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Don’t go nearby sick people.