Delhi reporting Swine Flu cases :
Recent NDTV News stated that Delhi had recorded 895 positive cases of swine flu till Monday, which included 712 adults and 183 children, the latest report by the city’s Directorate General of Health Services said.
With more than 1000 people affected by this disease, and few fatalities reported, here is a quick guide for our readers to know about Swine Flu, Prevention, and its Medication.
What is Swine Flu: Is Swine Flu same as Seasonal Flu?
Swine Flu has come out as one of the most emerging and re-emerging infectious disease, which is causing morbidity and mortality in communities. In Medical terminology, Swine Flu is also referred to as the H1N1 virus. It originated from Pigs (hence named as Swine Flu), in 2009, and since then, it has targeted many communities across the world. It rather attained the status of being “Pandemic”, and hence an awareness on this contagious infection is a must.
What are the Signs and symptoms of Swine Flu?
Since it is also a type of Flu / Influenza, the symptoms of Swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal human flu. This includes fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, severe headaches, chills, and fatigue. Some people also report diarrhea and vomiting upon being infected with swine flu. In cases of certain medical conditions, infection by Swine Flu may result in worsening of those conditions as well.
Emergency symptoms of Swine Flu are :
- Fast breathing or difficulty in breathing
- Dizziness and maybe Bluish skin color in young babies/Kids
- Fever with rashes, pain the in the abdomen
Who is at risk and how does swine flu spreads?
- People with weak Immune system, as adults above 65 years, and kids less than 5 years old.
- Ones with a compromised Immune system due to certain diseases
- Pregnant Women at any stage of Pregnancy are 4 times more susceptible to be at the risk of complications from Flu
- People with chronic diseases (Liver, Heart, Lung, Kidney, Diabetes)
- Those exposed to some set of medication/therapies
People with any/more of the above-stated combinations are susceptible to catch Swine Flu by a strain of Influenza Virus, which spreads in humans contagiously.
How does Swine Flu spread in Humans?
Swine influenza A (H1N1) virus spreads in the same way as seasonal Influenza from one person to another. The Infected person might transfer the virus to a healthy person by :
- Coughing, Sneezing, as the viruses get released in the air and a healthy person comes in contact with the infected air.
- Touching anything (like a table top, hands of an infected person, doorknobs) with live flu viruses on it and then touching your own mouth or nose, can put you at the risk of Swine Flu.
Did you know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.
And the irony is that you can pass on the virus to another person, even before knowing that you are the one infected. Kids can pass on the infection for longer periods, as much as 10 days and that’s the reason, it spreads so quickly.
Vaccinations and medications against Swine Flu :
There are vaccines against the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu, but the major concern is the new variants of viruses, diagnosed every couple of years. Though there are vaccinations against Seasonal flu, that cannot protect one against Swine Flu. The best way to treat Swine Flu is via Medication. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) is one medication used for the treatment and/or prevention of infection from Swine Flu viruses. Antiviral drugs work best and prevent serious complications, if you start taking them (after consultation from a doctor), within 1-2 days of infection. The medication is available online also, you can order from sites like Pharmeasy and Get Flat 30% Off on your 1 st purchase of any medication.
Things to note to protect yourself and your family :
- Frequent hand-washing (with Alcohol-based/antiseptic soap solution).
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze. Don’t keep that tissue on any surface, rather trash it immediately.
- Sneeze into your elbow, rather than sneezing in hands.
- Ensure that your hands are clean after sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Flu virus spread this way, the most.
- Try to avoid contact with sick kids/people around you.
- In case, you have Flu symptoms, get yourself tested. Stay at home, so that you do not pass this disease to healthy individuals. Avoid going to school/office.
- Keep surfaces(side tables, surfaces in the bathroom, phone, door knobs, window panes) clean with an effective disinfectant.
- Ensure that your hands are cleaned well, after handling laundry.
- Ensure healthy eating habits and work to make kids immune system strong with more nutrient-dense foods.
Let’s be healthy and safe, as the Flu season is in the air now!
Disclaimer: This post has been produced in consultation of our Senior Paediatrician in Delhi. It should be taken only as an informative read. In case of any symptoms, it is advisable to contact your nearest medical practitioner/ visit equipped hospital. It is important to get the right treatment at the right time. This post is only to raise awareness about Swine Flu.
Supporting References : https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/is-the-h1n1-swine-flu-vaccine-safe#2 https://www.cdc.gov