Swine flu (H1N1 virus) is a pig-originated influenza virus that spreads primarily between individuals. The disease has led to a pandemic many times starting from 1918 Spanish flu but was initially recognised in the US in the year 2009.
Like flu viruses or COVID-19 virus, H1N1 can spread through respiratory droplets and fomites. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, chills, body pain, dizziness, diarrhoea and vomiting. The best way to prevent swine flu influenza is by maintaining hand hygiene and social distancing.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most commonly asked questions related to swine flu or H1N1. Take a look.
1. What is swine flu?
Ans: Swine flu is a respiratory infection caused by influenza A viruses. The virus generally affects pigs and cause influenza outbreaks among them, but occasionally, the virus gets transit to humans by farmers or veterinarians and spread from human to human.
2. Is swine flu contagious?
Ans: Swine flu is highly contagious as it can spread quickly from one person to another. Proper precautions must be taken to prevent the spread.
3. What is the difference between swine flu and regular flu?
Ans: Swine flu may cause severe lung complications, diarrhoea and vomiting along with regular flu symptoms that include fever, runny nose, throat pain, cough, headache and body ache. Swine flu can lead a person to severe pneumonia or other lung problems.
4. How does swine flu spread?
Ans: When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the respiratory droplets that come out from their mouth which contain thousands of viruses quickly enter another person's body when they breathe in. Also, the droplets settle on objects such as a table, doorknobs or surfaces. So, when a person touches those objects and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes, the viruses get inside the body and cause swine flu.
5. Can swine flu kill?
Ans: Swine flu can be life-threatening as the viruses affect the lungs and cause severe complications like pneumonia, breathing difficulties and diarrhoea. Early treatment helps reduce the symptoms and prevent the risk of death.
6. What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu?
Ans: Some of the swine flu symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, pains, runny nose, fatigue and headache. In severe cases, vomiting, diarrhoea and neurological problems are recorded.
7. Can a face mask help prevent swine flu?
Ans: Wearing a mask provides additional protection to prevent swine flu. However, maintaining proper hand hygiene is essential for protection against not only swine flu but any flu type.
8. Which medicines are best for swine flu?
Ans: Antiviral drugs help control the symptoms of swine flu. Once the symptoms subside, it's easy to get back to normal. Avoid self-medicating by antibiotics as swine flu is caused by viruses, not bacteria.
9. Is there a vaccine for swine flu?
Ans: Yes, the vaccine of swine flu was made available since 2010, a year later when it was first declared a pandemic. People are advised to take swine flu vaccine every year as the virus keeps mutating or developing resistance against the current vaccine dose. Therefore, to tackle that, vaccines are improvised every year according to the mutated form of viruses.
10. Can you get swine flu from eating pork?
Ans: Swine flu is not caused by eating pork as it is not a foodborne illness. However, it may spread if undercooked or raw swine meat is consumed. Cook meats above 160 degree-celsius to kill any type of bacteria or viruses. Also, maintain proper hand hygiene while handling raw meat.
11. How to prevent swine flu?
Ans: It is very important to cover your nose and mouth with a napkin. Ensure to wash the hands thoroughly after touching infected surfaces or objects. Avoid the company of sick people, if possible.
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12. What to do when affected by swine flu?
Ans: Swine flu has now become ordinary flu. Therefore, first try to manage its symptoms by taking rest, drinking plenty of water, consuming vitamin C rich foods or those that may help boost the immune system. Also, avoid close contact with anyone. Don't forget to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist for several days.
13. How do I know if my child has swine flu?
Ans: Your child may have swine flu if he/she has the following symptoms; breathing difficulties, inability to drink water, bluish skin and fever. Consult a medical expert soon.
14. Are there home remedies for swine flu?
Ans: Home remedies for swine flu are basically to boost the immune system and prevent its mild symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache, etc. It is better to consult a medical expert if one notices severe symptoms.
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15. What happens if you have swine flu?
Ans: Swine flu symptoms usually go on their own or by simple home remedies as it has now become ordinary flu due to the availability of its vaccine. Consult a medical expert for antiviral medications that help reduce its symptoms.