What is Swine Flu or the H1N1 Virus?
The H1N1 virus is called "swine flu" because many of the genes in the virus are the same as that of influenza viruses normally found in the North American swine. But detailed research has also shown that the virus is due to a new strain of H1N1 which was earlier not found in pigs. Final analysis has shown that this flu is a sub-type of two strains which are both found in swines. In the United States, 4% of those affected need to be hospitalized, and 0.1% people die from it.
Main Risk Group
Those individuals who work extensively with poultry and swines are at a high risk of being affected by this virus. Even veterinarians and those in the meat industry are at a risk, though not as much. All such individuals need to be appropriately vaccinated. And as we see now, the virus is also being transmitted from human to human, which is why those affected need to be immediately quarantined. As many people believe, Swine flu cannot be transmitted through pork products or any food. In humans, it is most contagious during the first five days of the illness. In children, it can remain contagious for even up to ten days.
Signs and Symptoms
- Body Ache
- Sore Throat
- Veterinarians and animal farm workers should wear a face mask and gloves.
- Prescribed vaccines need to be used on swines to prevent their infection.
- Cover the mouth with a tissue or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
- Dispose off used tissues immediately.
- Do not touch items used by others without washing the hands and face thoroughly.
- Stay away from infected individuals.
- Avoid smoking completely.
- Be absolutely hygienic, wash the face and hands regularly.
Within 2 days of the mentioned symptoms, you need to visit your doctor or the hospital for appropriate treatment. Any delay can prove fatal. There are anti-viral drugs that help in making the symptoms milder. Individuals testing positive also need to be quarantined and hospitalized. Besides medication, other supportive care at the hospital is also vital for complete recovery.
Death usually occurs due to respiratory failure, pneumonia, high fever, or dehydration from excessive vomiting and diarrhea. Children and the elderly are easily affected. Swine flu is a virus that threatens to become the most dangerous disease of all time. It is imperative that all of us together understand its causes, symptoms, and the preventive measures needed to be taken.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.