The swine flu has now evolved into being a seasonal flu, affecting people around the world during the winter months.
Since people have built up their immunity to fight off the H1N1 virus, it is no longer deemed as grave a concern as in 2009-10.
The flu virus spreads like how a seasonal flu spreads.
When an infected person sneezes or coughs, the virus becomes airborne. Any one coming in contact with that person or anything he touched or even a surface that has the virus, can catch swine flu and fall sick.
A person affected does not even realize he or she has contracted H1N1 till a day after. They remain contagious for up to 7 up days after that.
Children can remain communicable for as long as 10 days!!
A gentle reminder: Pork products like ham and bacon do not cause swine flu!
Usually the Swine Flu symptoms resemble that of a seasonal flu or a common cough and cold.
The symptoms start to show within a day or three of getting infected. Some get better within a week but remain afflicted with a nagging cough and a lingering feeling of tiredness for another two weeks or so.
We typically tend to ignore these common symptoms and fail to prevent the disease from affecting us and spreading further.
The first step towards prevention of a disease is being aware of its existence. The first step towards curing it is not disregarding its symptoms.
The most common symptoms indicative of H1N1 that quite a lot of people ignore are:
Swine Flu virus is not severe enough to cause great worry and can be cured with a bit of bed rest and loading up on fluids.
It is still proven fatal for a few high-risk individuals.
People falling under these categories should be even more cautious about their health and the impending danger H1N1 poses for them.
They are pregnant ladies, young adults, and children.
Yearly, 30%-40% of school age going children fall sick because of the Influenza virus. They are typically aged between 5-19 years of age.
Also, the Swine Flu virus is more harmful for those who are suffering from chronic conditions like:
Immunity lowering conditions like HIV, diabetes and chemotherapy cause the person to contract this flu easily.
Such people should be more vigilant regarding the spread of the disease and more cautious towards their own health and not avoid any of the above mentioned symptoms.
Some other people who are susceptible to falling sick because of the swine flu virus are:
How Can I Save Myself From Getting Infected With Swine Flu?
There are several ways you can prevent yourself from falling prey to the H1N1 virus.
The first and most important one is to build up your immune system with proper diet and rest and prepare it for fighting such viruses.
The next is to be aware of any outbreaks of the disease in your region. Then you can be prepared accordingly.
In case you are already experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, the chances are, you are already sick.
Don’t panic! Visit a doctor, get appropriate medicines, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and most importantly – stay indoors.
In case you fall under the high-risk to Swine Flu, it is imperative to consult a doctor and not rely on home remedies!!
To avoid any unforeseen situations, one should be aware of the underlying risks posed by the H1N1 virus.
One, it is extremely contagious and second, it affects the youngsters more than the old ones.
It is available in a nasal spray alternative as well. Its effects are slower than a shot, but still effective.
According to CDC, a Pneumonia vaccine after getting the Swine Flu shot is essential. Analysis of H1N1 deaths have revealed that a number of cases had two infections leading to complications and deaths.
The second infection is caused by the pneumococcus bacteria, which leads to ear infections and meningitis.
Prevnar is now part of the scheduled vaccinations given to children. Pneumovax vaccine is given for preventing pneumonia in adults.
For people 65 and over, trivalent shot having 60 mcg of antigen hemagglutinin for every strain of the Swine Flu virus has been recently brought back from inactivity.
Using over the counter medications that are used to cure seasonal flu-like Relenza or Tamiflu or Rapivab can help prevent the Swine Flu from affecting the body or bring relief in case the condition is not severe.
The medication needs to be taken within 48 hrs of the appearance of the symptoms.
Remember antibiotics only work on diseases caused by bacteria. Swine Flu is caused by a virus, hence the antibacterial medicines would not have any effect!
Be careful feeding over the counter medications to children. Anyone below 18 should not be fed Aspirin as it could cause Reye’s Syndrome.
To avoid contamination, proper cleaning of surfaces coming in contact with the infection should be undertaken.
According to studies, the Influenza virus can survive being out in open environment for a maximum of up to 8 hours and infect a healthy person.
Their effectiveness depends on the concentration of the solution and the duration of usage.
Mother & Baby Care
When all my neighbours were being infected with Typhoid, I realized it’s high time to get vaccinated. I opted for Typhoid vaccine for both me and my husband from Portea and the experience was good.
I availed cervical cancer vaccine for my 14 years daughter. A trained nurse came to our home for the vaccination.