Swine influenza, also called pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu, is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses.

Cause

Virus- Cause- Influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

Mode of Infection

Entry-Enters through mouth or nose
Spread- Through coughing or sneezing
Transmission- Through humans,Pigs(swine) or Birds (Avians).

Symptoms

Most people have production of antibodies, while some may develop zoonotic infection.

The symptoms are similar to Influenza-like illness:

1.Nausea- Feeling of vomiting
2.Vomiting
3.Diarrhoea
4.Sudden fever
5.Body ache
6.Cough
7.Sore throat
8.Headache
9.Chills
10.Fatigue

Cause of death

Most common- Respiratory failure

Others:-

  • Pneumonia(leading to sepsis)
  • High fever (leading to neurological problems)
  • Dehydration (from excessive vomiting and diarrhea)
  • Electrolyte imbalance and kidney failure

Prevention

Best methods include having lots of water throughout day and avoiding contact to virus as:-

1.Avoid touching nose or mouth
2.Wash hands everytime before meal or touching nose/mouth
3.Do jal neti kriya or try cleaning your nose with salt water and cotton. This flushes out colonies of virus.
4.Try handwash instead of soap.
5.Avoid crowded areas
6.Wear masks if you are low on immunity
7.Have lots of vitamin C(Amla)

Vaccines

The vaccines will be available in Delhi and NCR by next month,i.e,by march.

Though injectable vaccines (Influvac, Agrippal, Vaxigrip, Vaxiflu-S and Fluarix) against swine flu are available, the Government has ruled out universal vaccination for now and has recommended that it be used only for people who are actively treating the swine flu patients (doctors and other medical practitioners).

Read more-   Potassium Balance vs Hypokalemia vs Hyperkalemia

Diagnosis

If you have sudden fever for more than two days and breathlessness,contact your doctor.

Swine flu can only be diagnosed for sure in labs. It is diagnosed by identifying the particular antigens associated with the virus type. In general, this test is done in a specialized laboratory and is not done by many doctors’ offices or hospital laboratories. However, doctors’ offices are able to send specimens to specialized laboratories if necessary.

Treatment

  • Drink alot of water(prevent dehydration) and stay warm(prevent chills) since this is one of the best options.
  • Paracetamol for fever and ibuprofen for pain(Combiflam for both) and other symptomatic treatment can be done.
  • There are certain antiviral drugs which help treat swine flu – Zanamivir (Relenza) and Oseltamivir (Tamiflu).One should take these only with a doctor’s prescription since indiscriminate use could lead to resistance to the virus.
  • The patient will need to be hospitalized, isolated and put on a ventilator in severe cases.

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