What is swine flu?
Swine influenza (also called as H1N1 flu, swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu) is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus.
What are the symptoms of swine flu infection?
Early symtoms of being infected are similar to flu which include fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronicmedical conditions.
How does this swine flu spreads?
When a person infected from swine flue coughs or sneezes, infected droplets get on their hands, drop onto surfaces, or are dispersed into the air, another person can breathe in contaminated air, or touch infected hands or surfaces, and be exposed to the viral infection. Also, infected people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.
*Note: Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
How to protect myself from swine flu?
Currently available seasonal influenza vaccine does not protect against swine flu (H1N1 flu). There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.
What are the medicines available in the market to treat swine flu?
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Try to avoid close contact with people having respiratory illness.
- If one gets sick with influenza, one must stay at home, away from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. However, if one is having any respiratory distress, one should report to a nearby hospital.
'Oseltamivir' is the recommended anti viral drug for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with the influenza A H1N1. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.
They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). The government has adequate stock and the drug is made available to government hospitals at the time of outbreak and would be available to you free of cost. The drug is to be administered under supervision of clinicians.
What should I do if I get sick?
Consult a doctors immediately. If you are worried as your symtoms do match as given above, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids/eating food
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
- Sudden dizziness.
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Stay more than an arm's length from persons afflicted with flu.
- Get plenty of sleep. Try to get 8 hours of good sleep every night to keep your immune system in top flu-fighting shape.
- Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses.
- Keeping your body strong, nourished, and ready to fight infection is important in flu prevention. So stick with whole grains, colorful vegetables, and vitamin-rich fruits.
- Use the antibacterial soaps to cleanse your hands. Wash them often, at least 15 seconds and rinse with running water.
- The government is taking necessary steps to prevent the pandemic and periodically release guidelines to keep the pandemic away. Please make sure to keep up to date on the information and act in a calm manner.
For people who are sick:
- Shake hands or hug in greeting
- Spit in public
- Take medicines without consulting a physician
- Apart from being a mood depressant, alcohol is an immune suppressant that can actually decrease your resistance to viral infections like swine flu. So stay away from alcoholic drinks so that your immune system may be strong.
- Flu virus spreads when particles dispersed into the air through a cough or sneeze reach someone else's nose. So if you have to be around someone who is sick, try to stay a few feet away from them and especially, avoid physical contact.
- Try to avoid unnecessary trips outside. Moreover, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Stay home and limit contacts with others as much as possible.
- Rest and take plenty of liquids.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Seek medical advice if needed.