What is Swine Flu
Swine flu is an infection caused by a virus.
It’s named for a virus that pigs can affect pigs. People usually do not get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.Swine flu also known as swine influenza, hog flu and pig flu. In 2009 the media labeled as "swine flu" the flu caused by 2009’s new strain of swine-origin A/H1N1 pandemic virus just as it had earlier dubbed as "avian flu" flu caused by the recent Asian-linage HPAI (High Pathogenic Avian Influenza) H5N1 strain that is still endemic in many wild bird species in several countries.
Swine flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
Although symptoms have generally proved mild, a small number of patients will develop more serious illness. Many of these people have other underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, that put them at increased risk.On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a global pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1) was underway by raising the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6.
This action was a reflection of the spread of the new H1N1 virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus. At the time, more than 70 countries had reported cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) infection and there were ongoing community level outbreaks of novel H1N1 in multiple parts of the world.
Swine Flu Symptoms
Usually symptoms of swine flu have generally proved mild. However a small number of patients may develop more serious illness. Many of these people have other underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, that put them at increased risk.
Flu symptoms can include:
· Weakness and fatigue
· Aching muscles and joints
· Sore throat
· Runny nose
As with any sort of influenza, how bad and how long the symptoms last will depend on treatment and the patient’s individual circumstances.Most cases reported in India have been relatively mild, with those affected starting to recover within a week.
Persons with swine flu infection should be considered potentially contagious for up to 7 days following illness onset. Persons who continue to be ill longer than 7 days after illness onset should be considered potentially contagious until symptoms have resolved. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
A confirmed case of swine flu infection is a person with an acute respiratory illness with laboratory confirmed swine flu infection by one or more of the following tests:· Real-time RT-PCR· Viral culture
Prevention and Precautions for Swine Flu
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through droplets created while coughing or sneezing by a person infected with swine flu. Infected person may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.Stay away from people who display signs of swine flu.
DO NOT TOUCH YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE WITH YOUR HANDS. YOU MAY TOUCH SURFACES ON WHICH A PERSON MAY HAVE EARLIER SNEEZED OR COUGHED. WASH & SANITIZE YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY
Information on the effectiveness of facemasks and respirators for decreasing the risk of swine fluis extremely limited. Thus, it is difficult to assess their potential effectiveness in decreasing the risk of swine flu (H1N1) virus transmission. In the absence of clear scientific data, the interim recommendations below have been developed on the basis of public health judgment, the historical use of facemasks and respirators in other settings for preventing transmission of influenza and other respiratory viruses.
· You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
· Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
· Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
· Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
· Staying home from work or school if you are sick.
The impact of swine flu is becoming more severe everyday. If you suspect you have caught it, it recommended that you stay at home to avoid infecting others. The virus typically spreads from coughs and sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the nose or mouth. Symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu, and may include fever, sneezes, sore throat, coughs, headache, and muscle or joint painsBecause swine flu is a new virus, most people have no natural immunity.
People older than age 50 are getting swine flu at far lower rates than younger people, which may be an evidence older people may have some immunity from prior exposures to a similar virus.
How Does Swine Flu Spread?
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through droplets created while coughing or sneezing by a person infected with the influenza-A (H1N1) commonly known as swine flu. Infected person may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick.
Follow simple steps as cough etiquette (covering mouth & nose with handkerchief or tissue paper while coughing), stay at least an armâ€™s length from persons coughing or sneezing, avoid gathering and wash your hands frequently. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
How To Protect Yourself from 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.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
· 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.
What should I do if I Identify Swine Flu Symptoms?
People who have traveled from the affected countries in the past ten days and show symptoms of influenza A (H1N1, swine flu) like fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing should immediately contact the telephone number given below or the nearby Government Hospital.
IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS: Outbreak Monitoring Cell (Control Room, NICD): 011-23921401Websites: www.mohfw.nic.in and www.nicd.nic.in
Steps being taken by Government of India to prevent outbreak of swine flu in India:
· The strategy is basically to detect early cases among the passengers coming from the affected countries either by air, road or ship.
· The Government has launched a massive mass media campaign to inform and educate people on dos and donts.
· Sharing information with public through media.
Two Things in Your Home Can Reduce Swine Flu Infection by 30%
You may be getting concerned at the news of the swine flu virus spreading rapidly throughout the country. There have been around 280 confirmed cases of swine flu in India as of 17th July.It is important to understand how swine flu or for that matter any flu spreads.
Contrary to the popular belief, swine flu is not air borne. The two main ways it spreads: first if someone who’s infected sneezes or coughs and you come in contact with the virus in the air.
The other is if you touch an object which may have have the virus and you touch your eyes, mouth or nose.It’s common for people to touch their nose, eyes and mouth. Most of these actions are sub-conscious like licking your tongue for flipping pages of a book or a magazine.
As soon as you feel an itch you immediately rub or scratch your eyes.Remember the virus can be anywhere - a door knob, a remote control, phones, computer keyboards, etc. The idea is not to get paranoid and stop using them.
A simple task can protect you from infection.Two things in your home - soap and water can reduce the chance of infection by 30%. All you need to do is keep washing your hand with soap and water frequently. And most importantly, stop touching your face.
Make it a conscious effort to observe and stop. Another side effect of not touching your face too often - your skin looks better!
How to Identify Swine Flu?
Swine flu Vs Common Cold
What are the typical symptoms of Swine Flu and how do you differentiate it from the common cold or the regular flu?
The swine flu and the flu look identical to most people. Both have similar symptoms such as
· Sore Throat
· Body Aches
However in some cases the swine flu may cause more discomfort. Patients could complain of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, which are not typical symptoms of Influenza or Flu. People over 65, children under age 8 and anyone with a chronic medical condition are more susceptible to the virus.