Swine flu or H1N1 Influenza has created much panic in India, with 663 people succumbing to the illness and 10,000 people contracting it.
But there is no need to worry, the doctors say. It’s just that one needs to be careful and aware of the disease. Here’s all you need to know about the epidemic.
What exactly is H1N1 and why is it called swine flu?
H1N1 is called swine flu because the virus was similar to influenza viruses that cause illness in pigs. In 2009, H1N1, or swine flu was called a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) because of its massive spread across the world.
How does it spread?
Swine flu is contagious. Influenza viruses infect the cells lining your nose, throat and lungs. It spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu. The virus spreads when you touch an infected surface or breathe cough and sneeze droplets in the air. People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms, and as many as 7 days after they get sick. Kids can be contagious for as long as 10 days. Note: You can’t catch swine flu from eating pork.
What are the symptoms of swine flu?
Cough, fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea.
How does it affect people?
Young children, pregnant women, and older adults are more likely to develop complications. Swine flu can lead to more serious complications, including pneumonia and respiratory failure. And it can make conditions like diabetes or asthma worse. It can also lead to neurological conditions ranging from confusion to seizures.
How do you know it’s swine flu?
It’s hard to tell whether you have swine flu or seasonal flu, because most symptoms are the same. People with swine flu may be more likely to feel nauseous and throw up than people who have seasonal flu. But a lab test is the only way to know for sure. Even a rapid flu test you can get in your doctor’s office won’t tell you for sure.
What’s the treatment for swine flu?
The person suffering from swine flu should take proper rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. There are antiviral medicines and antibiotics you can take to prevent or treat swine flu.
How can you avoid getting swine flu?
The best protection is to get a flu vaccine, or flu shot, every year. Washing hands and in keeping a good hygiene are the most effective way of slowing the spread of flu.
Swine flu Do’s
* Wash your hands frequently
* Get enough sleep
* Boost your immune system: Eat fruits, vegetable and other nutritious food
* Keep your mouth covered while sneezing and coughing
* Have plenty of water, nutritious food
Swine flu Don’ts
* Avoid travelling to places where people are affected by swine flu
* Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you are suffering from swine flu to prevent the spread
* Avoid crowded places, minimize physical contact with others
* Don’t get too close to the patients
(Compiled by Parmita Uniyal)
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