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Swine Flu (H1N1)

Swine-flu

Swine flu is an infection caused by the H1N1 virus. The H1N1 swine flu outbreak that swept the world in 2009-2010, according to the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, has now moved into the post-pandemic period. But how can we forget the havoc created by the fatal disease?

Like any other viral infection, swine flu spreads from person-to-person. As the human body is not familiar with the virus, it is yet to develop any kind of immunity and finds it tough to fight against the H1N1 virus. People in the 5 to 24 years age group are highly susceptible to H1N1 infection.

Causes

  • When the person with this viral infection sneezes into the air that others breathe in, others may catch the flu.
  • If a person comes in contact with the mucus of a child or an adult while taking care of them when they down with H1N1, he/she is likely to acquire swine flu.
  • If a person touches a door knob, desk, computer, or counter with the H1N1 germs on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose, he/she may catch swine flu.

Symptoms
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those seen during any other flu. If you notice two or more of the symptoms mentioned below, there are chances that you may have acquired H1N1 flu.

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment
Generally, swine flu appears to be mild and can be cured by taking rest, drinking plenty of water and taking some over-the-counter medicines. However, in a situation when the symptoms are persistent, you should consult a doctor. If you are a swine flu patient:

  • Take lots of rest and take medication to reduce temperature and relieve symptoms of swine flu.
  • Your doctor may advise you to take antivirals like Tamiflu or Relenza, which may not cure H1N1 infection, but may definitely help you feel better sooner and will reduce the potential for serious complications.
  • In case complications develop, you will probably be prescribed to take antibiotics to combat the complications.

Prevention
This disease can be prevented if you take the measures given below:

  • First of all, to prevent any type of flu, maintain good hygiene.
  • Wash your hands with soap and clean water regularly.
  • Keep your workplace and home, especially the surfaces like door handles, tables, remote controls etc. clean.
  • Carry a handkerchief or tissue with you, and cover your nose and mouth with it every time you sneeze or cough.
  • Throw away used tissues as quickly as possible.
  • H1N1 vaccination is recommended, especially for pregnant women, heart patients, kidney patients, liver patients and diabetics.

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