Swine Flu: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Introduction:

Swine flu is commonly known as H1N1 flu or virus. It is an advanced strain of influenza causing virus and causes symptoms more or less like that of regular flu. The term Swine clearly indicates its relationship with a pig. This name was given to this typical flu due to its first reported case in pigs. However, it is important to note that one cannot become infected to H1N1 simply because of eating pork products.

This kind of flu isn’t too old, and its first case in a human being was reported in the year 2009. As soon as it came into existence, it spread like a pandemic. India was hit massively too. By May 2010, more than ten thousand cases of swine flu were positive alone in India with over a thousand confirmed deaths.

Swine Flu Symptoms

Fortunately though, by August 2010, WHO declared swine flu pandemic over and since then, this virus has been a regular human inhabitant like the common flu. It comes into existence and spreads in flu season and can be easily treated. The prognosis is excellent.

Predisposing factors of swine flu:

Immediately after its occurrence in human beings, swine flu was seen to have a tendency to catch on to children above five years of age. This age group affinity is what differentiated it from other kinds of flu which usually affect either older adult or very young children. Although anybody who’s not being hygienic enough can catch swine flu, certain factors make an individual more susceptible to H1N1 virus. These factors are:

  1. Individuals with age over 65 years.
  2. Children under the age of 5 years old.
  3. Individuals exposed to long term Aspirin therapy
  4. Immunocompromised individuals
  5. Pregnant ladies.

Causes of swine flu:

The causative of swine flu is a modified strain of influenza causing virus. This virus was thought to infect only pigs although its presence in human has been reported; it is to note that the transmission can only take place either animal to animal or man to man. There is no route of transmission from animal to man.

H1N1 is a highly contagious flu, and its antigens can spread from an infected person via their saliva or mucus particles. The modes of transmission of swine flu from an infected individual to a healthy person can be:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Coughing
  3. Physical contact with germ-covered surfaces like doorknobs, tables, armchair, etc.

Symptoms of swine flu:

Since swine flu is caused by a strain of influenza causing virus, the symptoms produced are almost the same but of higher intensity. Symptoms of swine flu can include:

  1. Vigorous coughing with a sore throat
  2. Diarrhea with nausea and frequent vomits
  3. Sore throat
  4. Fatigue and severe body aches.
  5. Fever with chills

Treatment of swine flu:

Following its outburst amongst human in the year 2009, swine flu receded afterward till its second outbreak in the year 2015 in India. Major Indian states including Rajasthan and Gujarat had tons of case being reported and proven positive. 937 cases were reported all year long with 218 unfortunate deaths. Even in the year 2019, there is a massive rise in the number of cases being reported as it shot up to 1669 cases accompanied by seven deaths until February 2019.

Following the increasing cases of swine flu, it is important for people to know what exactly its treatment is. The treatment plan of swine flu can be categorized under three approaches.

  1. Self-healing: In maximum cases of swine flu, the disease does not have to be medically approached. The primary focus of infected individual should be of relieving the symptoms with home remedies and taking care that they don’t spread the infection to other people in the home in any way.
  2. Antiviral therapy: Since swine flu in a viral infection, the treatment approach includes a combination of oral drugs namely Oseltamivir and Zanamivir. However, since drug resistance is a major concern of medical practitioners these days, this drug therapy is reserved for those who are at risk of developing complications like pregnant ladies.
  3. Vaccine: Since viruses are known to adapt quickly, a renewed combination of a flu shot is developed every year by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are two modes of vaccine administration, nasal and injectable intramuscularly. The vaccine administered nasally has ‘live viral’ strands whereas the one injected has ‘killed viruses. A small dosage of this virus is injected into individual as a prophylactic treatment, our body’s immune system fights it and then develop a resistance to it. This is the way all vaccines work. Nasal vaccines are preferred for individuals between the ages of 2 to 50 years. It is important to note that the vaccine shot does not help you in case you are already infected with H1N1.

Conclusion: Swine flu can be a serious infection and should be brought into medical attention as soon as the symptoms appear. In the case of no signs of complication, the individual would be just fine without any medical intervention.

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