Swine flu, also denoted as H1N1, is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. This is a highly infectious disease that can spread even through bare minimum contact with a person infected with the H1N1 virus. When infected people cough, spit or sneeze, tiny drops of the virus are released into the air. If a person touches any surface on which these droplets may have landed — like elevator buttons, door knobs, or flush knobs — they are at an increased risk of catching H1N1 swine flu.
So far, a total of 1,772 H1N1 flu cases and 191 deaths have been recorded across Maharashtra this year, according to officials. Also, an 18-year-old youth from Kshetrigao village in Imphal East district died of swine flu, while five persons who came in close contact with the deceased are undergoing treatment.
“It is imperative that people identify early symptoms of this infection and seek appropriate preventive care before it’s too late,” says Dr Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist & HIV Physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund & Kalyan.
A few basic things one should know about this infection are:
H1N1 symptoms are very close to the symptoms of common flu, and therefore it is very important to differentiate between the two. Symptoms of swine flu include:
*High grade fever lasting for more than three days
*Persistent cough and cold
*Difficulty in breathing
*Nausea and vomiting
*Weakness and fatigue
Additional care and precaution is essential for:
*Children less than six years old and senior citizens above 65 years
*Individuals who have undergone a transplant
*Individuals undergoing dialysis
*Individuals on drugs to improve/ boost their immunity
*Individuals suffering from chronic diseases
Follow these preventive steps to stay away from the flu:
*Avoid crowed places
*Wear N95 mask while travelling (available at medical stores)
*Consume high protein foods
Understanding the treatment:
One should avoid taking over the counter medicines if you notice the symptoms of swine flu. You should immediately contact your nearest doctor or an infectious disease specialist. One will have to take a vaccination through injection or nasal sprays (this is you are allergic to eggs).
How it is treated:
Some antiviral drugs that are commonly used to treat seasonal flu also work against H1N1 swine flu. These drugs work best when taken within 48 hours of spotting the flu symptoms.
In case you are recovering from the flu:
*Consume at least 2-3 liters of water or fluids (juices, soups etc.) each day
*Avoid flavored vegetables like capsicum and cabbage
*Avoid deep fried food
*Include probiotic foods in your diet
*Cut down on sugar intake and processed food
*Consume home cooked food