Swine flu is a highly contagious human respiratory infection caused by a particular influenza virus strain H1N1 popularly. Swine flu viruses can sometimes come from other subtypes, such as H1N2, H3N1, and H3N2.
The disease is spread among pigs by direct and indirect contact, aerosols and from pigs that are infected but do not have symptoms.
Source of Infection
- • Contact with infected pigs : The most common way of catching swine flu. Any contact with infected pigs makes transmission more likely.
- • Contact with infected humans : This is a much less common way of catching swine flu, but is a risk, especially for those in close contact with an infected person.
- ¬ The pandemic was declared over in August 2010. Currently, H1N1 is still circulating in humans as a seasonal flu virus and protection against this strain was included in the seasonal flu vaccine for 2015-16. Another strain, H3N2 emerged in humans in 2011.
- • >65 years or <5 years of population.
- • people with chronic diseases
- • pregnant women
- • anyone with a compromised immune system
- • morbidly obese, defined as having a body mass index above 40
- • are in a hospital, nursing home or other long-term care facility
Influenza viruses infect the cells lining the nose, throat and lungs. The virus enters the body through inhalation of contaminated droplets or transfer live virus from a contaminated surface to eyes, nose or mouth. You can’t catch swine flu from eating pork.
Sign and Symptoms
- • Fever (but not always)
- • Cough
- • Sore throat
- • Runny or stuffy nose
- • Watery, red eyes
- • Body aches
- • Headache
- • Fatigue
- • Diarrhea
- • Nausea and vomiting
- • Worsening of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and asthma
- • Pneumonia
- • Neurological signs and symptoms
- • Respiratory failure
- • Death
To test for swine flu a nose or throat swab is taken. Within 15 minutes, the laboratory may tell if influenza type A or B is present.
The antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are prescribed within the first day or two of symptoms to reduce the severity of your symptoms, and possibly the risk of complications. But, flu viruses can develop resistance to these drugs. The recommended course of the drug is for 5 days.
- • Drink plenty of liquids
- • Rest
- • Consider pain relievers
- • Stay home if you’re sick.
- • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
- • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- • Avoid contact. Stay away from crowds if possible.
- • Reduce exposure within your household. If a member of your household has swine flu.