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Updated on: Mar 30, 2015

Swine Flu, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Swine flu technically refers to the influenza in the pigs. People who used to be in direct contact with the pigs, like the hog farmers and the veterinarians, they were found to be infected with the disease in the very past.  However, after many years, it broke as a lethal in humans causing severe illness and registering deaths in 2009 and hence, was declared as pandemic by the World Health Organization. Swine flu was first identified in the Mexico in 2009. It was then, known as Mexican Flu.
Swine Flu is a respiratory disease that resembles to the other flu strains. It is caused by the H1N1 virus in human and thus is also termed as novel H1N1 flu as it affects the two main surface antigens, H1 (hemagglutitnin type 1) and N1 (neuraminidase type1). In 2010 August 10, this pandemic was declared to be officially over by the World Health Organization. However, the disease has again out broke in late 2014 from United States of America and has been seen in several of the countries like, India, Nepal, China, and many other countries registering the deaths and illness. Also, the newest species of Swine Flu other than H1N1, i.e. H3N2v has recorded its outbreak in 2011. Previously, this virus used to infect only pigs but has begun to humans as well. 

Causes of Swine Flu
The H1N1 Swine flu has the similar causes and the transmission modes and means as that of the seasonal flu we get from the Rhino Virus. The best media of the transmission is the air. When the host gets in contact to the droplets that contains the H1N1 virus from sneezing or coughing, then the person catches the virus and becomes infected from it. But the disease is not transmitted if one eats the cooked pork products.

Symptoms of Swine Flu
The incubation period generally varies from 24 hours to 72 hours and lasts for 7 to 10 days. The symptoms of the virus are similar as that of other flu strains in general. It includes:
•    Fever
•    Sore Throat
•    Cough
•    Runny Nose
•    Headaches
•    Fatigue
•    Loss of Appetite
•    Diarrhea
•    Vomiting
Unlike other flu strains, Swine flu can make person nausea as well as some can throw up followed by the diarrhea. In severe cases, a patient can catch pneumonia and in secondary phase, the lungs, causing deaths of the people. 

Treatments of Swine Flu
Swine Flu in the past had brought confusions and panic in most of the countries. However, due to the awareness on its treatment as well as the introduction of the vaccine against the H1N1 Swine flu, the flu is not so hazardous as was presumed. The treatment for the diseases can be:
•    Vaccination: People who are in risk of catching this flu is given with the as an annual injection, to the adults aged 18+ and to children over six months to 2 years. However, children from 2-18 years and the pregnant woman are given the annual nasal spray against the flu.
•    Antiviral medications like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza) are helpful in relieving the symptoms and risks of serious illness from the disease.
•    The Ayurvedic way (home treatment) can be smelling the dough of camphor, Green Cardamom and Cloves , prepared by grinding the equal of all three together and putting in a clean cotton cloth, for 9-10 times a day.
•    Drinking a lot of water to prevent dehydration and intake of paracetamol to decrease the temperature can be helpful.

Prevention of Swine Flu
It is always said, ‘Prevention is better than cure.” Thus, to prevent from this disease,
•    Keeping oneself far from the crowded places.
•    Avoid shaking hands.
•    Wear masks while going out.
•    Wash your hands frequently.
•    Getting the flu vaccine.
Swine Flu is not as deadly as was previously considered however, the secondary infections from this disease is lethal. The children under two years, adults above 65 years, pregnant woman and people with heart diseases or with other respiratory diseases are at high risk of complications from the H1N1 Swine flu.