Swine (H1N1 Virus) Flu Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Image Credit: wikipedia
Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus. It is a respiratory disease which can be life-threatening. Earlier this influenza virus was not found in people. It normally occurs in pigs but now it also infects humans. This influenza virus of type A was found the first time in humans in Mexico during 2009. Scientists found that this virus was originated in pigs. Swine flu was found in pigs in the 4 states of the United States in 1998. The swine flu pandemic killed almost 2, 00000(2lakhs) people worldwide in 2009. It was termed pandemic because it has the capacity to spread very fast across the globe.
Like other seasonal flu or fever, it is also contagious and the virus is transmitted from one affected person to another healthy person. The droplets coming out from coughing and sneezing contain H1N1 virus. The virus is transmitted when a person comes in contact with infected air. The lifetime of H1N1 influenza virus is just a few minutes therefore even if healthy people with strong immunity power come in contact, they may not catch the virus.
H1N1 influenza can infect cells deeper in the lungs than a seasonal strain of H1N1. The seasonal viruses attach themselves with receptors found on the outside of the cells. The seasonal influenza viruses are attached to cells found in the nose, throat and respiratory tract. The severe H1N1 virus can also attach to receptors of the cells found deep inside the lungs. The viruses are multiplied many thousands of times within the cell. Therefore pandemic H1N1 can cause acute respiratory disorders and be fatal. They replicate rapidly and can infect more neighboring cells of the respiratory tract, causing serious lung diseases.
Following are the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about swine flu symptoms, warning signs, causes, and treatment.
Is swine flu different than seasonal viral flu?
Yes, the symptoms of swine virus may look similar to symptoms of cold flu but it is totally different from normal seasonal cold fever. If not treated on time, it can be fatal. The serious infection can do more harm to the lungs than seasonal flu. The cold or normal flu cannot attach to cells while the H1N1 virus produces more viruses by using cell machinery. Without laboratory tests, it is hard to distinguish between the two diseases.
What are the warning signs or symptoms of swine flu?
The early signs of swine include sudden fever with high temperature (38-degree centigrade). The symptoms include a cough, sore throat, running nose, body ache, headache, joint pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue. The disease occurs when infected droplets enter into the body through eyes, nose, and mouth. The negligence of early symptoms may develop severe swine flu which can cause various serious diseases like heart problem, asthma, and neurological disorders. The H1N1 virus can cause pneumonia which can fill the lungs with water or liquid. When virus recedes fibrosis can be developed.
Can you die from Swine H1N1 flu?
Yes, generally most of the people are recovered within one week or so but if it turns into a severe case, the patient needs to be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). Severe swine fever can cause serious pulmonary diseases and can cause death.
What is the time taken to recover from it?
Normally it takes one week of time to recede. Healthy people can recover fast. The person who has been infected can spread virus till 7-8 days. The children can spread the virus to other persons until 10 days after they have got it.
Who is more prone to this disease?
People who are working in pig farms, barns, social and health workers. Persons who are in close contact with infected pigs can catch the H1N1 virus. It can be dangerous to patients who are already going through a long illness like chemotherapy. Old age people, children, and pregnant women are more susceptible to swine flu.
People having chronic diseases like heart failure, diabetes, liver damage, respiratory system disorders are more prone to severe swine flu. Sometimes it can lead to bronchitis and secondary bacterial pneumonia which can cause death too. The death is caused by acute respiratory distress syndrome.
What is swine flu treatment?
Most of the people recover within 7-8 days but it is recommended that people who are suspected or infected should be treated with antiviral medicines. The antiviral agents prevent and reduce the severity of the H1N1 flu. The medicines used for treatment are Oseltamivir(Tamiflu) and Zanamivir. These drugs are more effective when they are given within 2 days of infection. The swine virus is also resistant to drugs like Amantadine and Rimantadine. People with serious symptoms should be treated in the intensive care unit. It is preventable by the H1N1 vaccine.
What are preventive measures or steps one should take to avoid pig flu?
Since this disease is highly contagious so keep yourself safe by not visiting places where the outbreak of swine has been taken place. Get vaccinated once in a year to avid catching of virus and to spread, control this global public health disease.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle like eating nutritious food and fruits, maintaining proper hygienic conditions and wash your hands regularly. Don’t spit in the public places to control the spread of the virus.
What are top home natural remedies to fight the deadly swine virus?
If you have strong immunity then the chances of getting swine flu virus are minimized. Therefore, always keep yourself healthy, strong and maintain hygiene. Include immunity booster natural products into your diet. Ginger has been used to fight cold, cough and congestion. It has been effective natural medicine to fight the flu. Garlic increases immunity and protects many diseases causing pathogens like virus and parasites. Turmeric is being used for many centuries against cold and flu. It works as an antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory drug. You can add a spoon of turmeric into a glass of hot milk and drink it before going to sleep.
Aloe vera is another natural and easily available remedy. It can fight infection and joint pain. Indian Gooseberry which is a rich source of Vitamin C increases the immunity power and helps in fighting against the infections. Drink enough water and include juice and soups into your daily diet if you are caught with swine disease.
The outbreak of swine H1N1 disease mostly takes place in the winter season. The cold and dry regions are at more risk. It has become a public health problem both in developed and developing regions. To get rid of this deadly virus people should be vaccinated. Urban areas should maintain proper sanitation. Eat proper handled or cooked pork and its products. Keep children at home when an outbreak takes place. To stop spread in other regions proper scanning and tests should be done at entry points like airport etc. The governments across the world should have proper vaccination plans in place. People should be made aware of this deadly disease and they should wear a face mask in public places.