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Everything you should know about Swine flu or H1N1
Posted On: February 12, 2015
Q1. What is Swine Flu or H1N1 and what is influenza virus?
H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu because in the past, the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. Thant changed several years ago, when a new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn't been near pigs.
In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organization called it a pandemic.
Q2. What are the symptoms of Swine flu?
The common swine flu symptoms to watch out for are
- A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
- A cough and/or a sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
Q3. What are the common causes of swine flu?
When people suffering from H1N1 cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops containing the virus into the air. If you come in contact with these droplets or touch a surface (tables, chairs, sink faucets) that an infected person has recently touched, you can catch H1N1 swine flu.
Q4. How to prevent swine flu and what are the precautions to be taken to prevent H1N1?
This season, there is a seasonal flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu viruses and a 2009 H1N1 vaccine to protect against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (sometimes called “swine flu”).
Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with people suffering from flu
Q5. What is swine flu vaccine? When to take and who should be vaccinated?
A flu vaccine that protects against seasonal flu also protects against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. A flu vaccine is by far the most important step in protecting against flu infection. All above the age of 6 months should get vaccinated at the beginning of winter season.
Q6. How is Swine flu tested? How to know if I have H1N1
Tests include a ‘rapid flu test’ and examination of nasopharyngeal swabs or Real-Time PCR test of the throat and nasopharyngeal swab.
Q7. I have a fever and the common cold. Will I get infected with the H1N1 virus?
All fever and common cold will not necessarily mean it is H1N1, however, it is recommended that you consult your doctor in case you experience the symptoms.
Q8. How to avoid the spread of H1N1?
Once you have been diagnosed with H1N1, It is advised to wear an N95 face mask for at least one week from the onset of symptoms. Take complete rest at home and avoid close contact with your family members and friends. Importantly cover your mouth while you cough or sneeze.
Q9. Will I get back swine flu after completely recovering from H1N1?
Once treated, the chance of recurring infections within 6 months is very less. However, it is advised to get vaccinated once recovered completely.
Q10. Is Swine flu caused by eating pork?
The infection primarily is spread by droplet infection and it is not proved that consumption of pork meat could cause Swine Flu.
Q11. What precautions should be taken to protect an infant from swine flu?
Care should be taken to avoid contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms, including fever and muscle aches. Avoid crowded settings in communities with swine flu outbreaks. A vaccine advisory committee recommended that pregnant women and those caring for and living with infants be among the first in line for the vaccine.
Q12. How is swine flu treated? What is the treatment for H1N1?
The treatment is majorly symptomatic and involves the use of fluids (to maintain hydration) and antivirals. The recommended antiviral is Tamiflu (Dosage details: Tab.Tamiflu 75mg twice a day for 5 days According to the body weight of the patient)
Q13. How long should one rest after recovering from H1N1?
2 weeks rest from the onset of the symptoms should be sufficient
Q14. How can pregnant women protect herself and her baby from swine flu? Is it safe to get vaccinated?
Pregnant women fall under a “high risk” category, according to CDC guidelines. A vaccine advisory committee recommended that pregnant women and those caring for and living with infants be among the first in line for the vaccine.
Q15. H1N1 precautions for people with long-term medical conditions like diabetes, renal or liver conditions
Vaccination is mandatory every year to protect from H1N1, especially in diabetics the sugar levels should be under control and should seek immediate medical help in case flu symptoms. Make sure to continue your regular medications.