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Killer Swine Flu: Here’s How To Stay Safe

Swine flu is a type of respiratory disease caused by H1N1 virus which affect respiratory tract of pigs. Commonly presents with cough which may be of barking nature, nasal secretions, fever, headache, decreased appetite and restless behaviour. Symptoms of swine flu and seasonal flu are pretty much same.

H1N1 virus is highly mutable virus which can change it’s structure so it is easily transmissible and vaccine production against it becomes a tough job. Cold weather and humidity also adds to the transmission of virus.
It was first seen in 2009 in mexico in 2009, since then a number of outbreaks have been recorded. In India, the latest outbreak started in december of 2014 with Gujrat and Rajasthan being worst hit states.
Though the death toll is on a rise, there is no need of panic. swine flu is easily preventable and treatment is available. death usually results from delayed healthcare and improper precautions.

Precautions

  1. Stay home if you are sick. Till about 24 hours after you are free from symptoms.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water. You can also use alcohol based sanitizer.
  3. Avoid contact with the sick person and avoid crowded places.
  4. Cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing. (Don’t use hands to cover. Use tissues or cloth)
  5. If there is an affected person in your family, avoid further exposure and admit the patient to the hospital, where he will be put in isolation.

Some misconceptions regarding Swine flu

  1. The normal flu vaccine will not prevent against swine flu. Swine flu has special vaccine which is now available in India.
  2. The normal face masks offer some protection but not complete. Special N95 masks are available which provide adequate protection against swine flu.
  3. If now you are better after infection doesn’t mean you cannot transmit the virus to a healthy individual. There is a possibility of spreading the infection upto 24 hours after the symptoms subside.
  4. Swine flu is an air-borne infection but it can also sometimes spread through contact from household things. So don’t forget to clean up.
  5. You don’t have to rush to hospital’s emergency unless you have some specific symptoms like –
  • Fast breathing
  • Bluish skin
  • Not able to drink enough fluids
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Highly irritable state
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Pain in chest or abdomen
  • Confusion
Even if a person acquires swine flu infection, there is no need to panic. The course is same as seasonal flu but with more severity. The disease is treatable with adequate antibiotics and proper care.
Image courtesy – wikipedia

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