H1N1 flu is also known as Swine flu. In 1998, swine flu was discovered in North Carolina industrial pigs farm. It started spreading in all the pigs within a year. Scientists found that this virus had originated in pigs as a recombinant form of flu strains from birds and humans. The year 2009 was the first time when Swine flu was observed in humans in Mexico. It started spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organization called it a pandemic in August 2010. Like other flu, swine flu is highly contagious and is similar to the seasonal flu. It takes approximately three to seven days to recover however if the infection is serious than it can last for about 9 to 10 days or more.
The disease is caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract of pigs. It is spread among pigs directly or indirectly. It was first originated in pigs but later it started spreading primarily from person to person. Most of the times swine flu is of the H1N1 influenza subtype. It can sometimes come from other subtypes, such as H1N2, H3N1, and H3N2. The disease is spread through saliva and mucus particles. If an infected person coughs or sneezes and if the tiny drops of the virus spray into the air and when a person incidentally touches the surface (like a doorknob or sink) where the drops lands, or touches something to what an infected person has recently touched that is when you get H1N1 swine flu. The common way of catching swine flu is getting in contact with infected pigs that makes transmission more likely.
- sore throat
- body aches
- nasal secretions
Swine flu can be diagnosed by sampling fluid from the body. A quick test is done where a swab (for example, nasopharyngeal swab) is used to take sample inside the nose or from the back of the throat. Swine flu can be treated at home or by the patient’s pediatrician, primary-care provider, or emergency-medicine doctor in uncomplicated cases. For more complicated or severe swine flu infections, specialists such as critical-care specialists, lung specialists (pulmonologists), and infectious-disease specialists may be consulted.
High Risk for developing flu-related complications
- children who are younger than 2 – 5 years old
- pregnant women
- adults who are 65 years of age and older
- asthma patients
- chronic lung disease
- heart disease
- kidney and Liver disorders
- weakened immune system
- people who are obese (BMI >40)
- washing hands regularly with soap and hand sanitizer
- exercising often
- not touching your nose, mouth, or eyes
- managing stress
- staying home from work or school if you’re ill
- avoiding large gatherings when swine flu is in season
- drinking liquids
- eating a balanced diet
- put used tissues in a trash can
- follow doctor’s instructions by taking vaccination
Swine flu isn’t as scary as it seemed a few years ago, it’s still important to protect yourself from getting proper information. Like seasonal flu, it can cause more serious health problems for some people. But the best way to control is by getting a flu vaccine, or flu shot, every year.
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