What is Swine Flu (H1N1 Influenza)?
Swine flu is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. It is also called as Pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu. The known Swine influenza virus ( SIV) strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.
It mainly causes infection in pigs and occasionally pigs transmit influenza viruses to people.
The human respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus H1N1 is popularly known as swine flu.
Recovery TimeSwine flu incubation itself can take about 10-12 days and after the incubation period recovery can take anywhere between 4-10 days to completely subside. It is necessary to administer H1N1 vaccine in susceptible areas to reduce further complications
DiagnosisMost of the H1N1 symptoms are easily understood by physical examination and medical history of that period. It is done by physical examination of patients medication history initially followed by laboratory testings which may include blood tests, chest x-ray, and nose or throat swab examination.
FAQs prepared by doctor
Q1. What is swine flu?
Swine flu is a new kind of influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the U.S. in April 2009. The known Swine influenza virus ( SIV) strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3. It mainly causes infection in pigs and occasionally pigs transmit influenza viruses to people. It is a mutated type of virus so that nobody in the world has any immunity to it. That is why it has the ability to cause widespread infections
Q2. What are its symptoms?
The symptoms are abrupt and similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, death occurs as a result of illness associated with this virus.
Q3. How does it spread?
The virus is transmitted via aerosols generated by coughs and sneezes, although hand-to-hand contact, other personal contacts, and even fomite transmission may take place. In infected cells, the virus replicates within 4-6 h, after which infectious virus is released to infect adjacent or nearby cells. In this way, the infection spreads from a few foci to a large number of respiratory cells over several hours.
Q4. Can I still eat pork?
Yes. You will not get swine flu by eating pork, bacon, ham, or other foods that come from pigs. You can only get the H1N1 swine flu from another person through aerosol.
Q5. Should I wear a face mask?
Face masks well offer extra protection, but the protection is not very effective.
People who have flu-like symptoms should carry disposable tissues to cover their coughs and sneezes and throw in dustbins. When going out in public, or when sharing common spaces around the home with family members, they should put on a face mask if one is available and tolerable.
People not at risk of severe flu illness can best protect themselves from swine flu with frequent hand washing and by staying at least 6 feet away from people with flu symptoms.
People at increased risk of severe flu illness pregnant women, for example, should add a face mask to these tried-and-true precautions when providing assistance to a person with flu-like illness.