Understand Swine Flu: Swine flu is set to make a comeback this year causing a variety of swine flu symptoms. Make sure you protect yourself by getting the swine flu vaccine.
Eighty-nine students from 57 schools and 11 colleges have been reported as suffering from swine flu infection, since the new academic session started.
With the advent of the monsoon season, swine flu has reared its ugly head in rain-drenched India.
Health Ministry officials are concerned, as the number of swine flu cases reported from various parts of the country, are on the rise.
Understanding Swine flu
Swine flu is the common name used to indicate a new type of influenza virus (flu) that causes infection in man. “The origin of the disease is currently being investigated. In general, swine influenza is a disease of the pigs. The human version of H1N1 sub-type of virus causes swine flu in humans,” says Delhi-based general physician, Dr Poonam Sachdev.
Symptoms of swine flu
“The symptoms of swine flu are very much like seasonal (regular) flu,” says Sachdev. The symptoms of swine flu include:
• Fever or high temperature (over 38°C/100.4°F).
• Extreme tiredness.
• Cold or runny nose.
• Sore throat.
• Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
• Decrease in appetite.
• Aching muscles.
• Stomach upset such as diarrhoea or vomiting.
Complications of swine flu
The most common complication of swine flu, is secondary bacterial infection of the respiratory tract (lungs) such as bronchitis (infection of the airways), or pneumonia. Dr Rajiv Erry, Paras Hospital’s medical specialist says, “These infections are cured by antibiotics in most people but can become life-threatening at times”.
Other complications which might occur include:
• Tonsillitis (infection of the tonsils)
• Otitis media (infection in the ear)
• Septic shock (severe infection of the blood that can cause fall in blood pressure)
• Meningitis (infection of the meninges, the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord)
• Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
Is prevention possible?
The following steps can help to decrease the risk of transmission of H1NI, guides Dr Paras:
• Always use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Trash the tissue after use.
• Use soap and water to wash your hands and if it’s not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as the H1N1 virus spreads easily this way.
• If possible, avoid close contact with people who are suffering from the flu.
• If you have a flu-like illness, it is recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever resolves.
• Influenza antiviral medications can also help prevent H1N1 infection besides treatment.
The figures and facts of swine flu seem disturbing. The key lies in making yourself aware that such epidemic disease can be tackled easily with a bit of care and precaution.
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