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All You Need To Know About Swine Flu (H1N1)

October 25, 2018

Overview

H1N1 or Swine Flu is a highly infectious seasonal illness caused by Influenza type – A virus.  Although Swine flu derives its name from an infection that affects pigs, the H1N1 strain affects humans and does not involve any pigs in transmission. In 2009 the fast spread of the infection across the world, made WHO declare it as a pandemic infection.

Signs & Symptoms

H1N1 flu signs and symptoms in humans are similar to those of other types of influenza: (use vectors)

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery, red eyes
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Quite similar to a regular flu, most patients get mild to moderate illness that requires some rest, plenty of fluids and medicines to manage the fever and body pain. The illness can be become complicated if it develops into pneumonia/ breathing problem or a lung infection.  Symptoms like shortness of breath, severe vomiting, pain in belly or sides, dizziness, or confusion may need immediate attention.

High Risk Patients

  • Children under 5 years old
  • People 65 or older
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults and children with chronic illness of lung, heart, liver, blood, nervous system, neuromuscular, or metabolic problems
  • Adults and children who have weakened immune systems
  • People in nursing homes, hospitals and other long-term care facilities

 

Preventive Measures

  • H1N1 vaccination
  • Staying indoors if sick
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water
  • Use an alcohol based hand  sanitizer
  • Cover mouth while coughing and sneezing
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Reduce exposure within the household

 

Treatment

  • In most cases, the infection is treated symptomatically, primarily to control fever with plenty of liquids and rest.
  • Sometimes, doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs to reduce the severity of symptoms, and possibly the risk of complications.
  • Hospitalization may be needed in complicated cases with Pneumonia.
  • It is important to prevent the spread of infection by following basic precautions like – using a tissue or handkerchief while sneezing or coughing.
  • For those looking after patients with influenza – maintaining proper hand hygiene and taking precautions is advised.

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