By Dr Sushant Gite
Published on 26/08/2022
Is Swine Flu still around?
We were already battling the havoc of the Covid-19 infection and monkeypox disease, and now there's another virus to fight. This time, it's Swine Flu!! Yes, the swine flu pandemic is coming back in several Indian states, and cases are coming up sporadically. So, should we worry? Let's be clear:
What is Swine Flu?
A Swine flu, often known as H1N1 flu, is an influenza A virus. It is a communicable viral respiratory disease caused by the H1N1 strain of the flu virus and is now known as the seasonal flu.
Swine flu symptoms include fever, headaches, chills, diarrhea, coughing, and sneezing, just like regular influenza. During flu season, one can avoid infection by practicing good personal hygiene and wearing a proper surgical mask, especially at crowded places. Swine flu vaccine is available to prevent H1N1 infection and antiviral medications help to battle this illness. However, these medications should only be used under the guidance of a doctor, as indiscriminate usage may result in severe complications.
Swine Flu – know its causes!
The H1N1 virus causes swine flu, a highly infectious respiratory infection. A sick person with swine influenza can spread the disease to close contact individuals. As a result, close contact with an infected individual increases the risk of virus transmission.
When is the flu contagious? When a sick person coughs or sneezes, the infected droplets containing the virus contaminate the surrounding area and can infect another healthy person. Transferring the live swine influenza virus from contaminated surfaces such as a doorknob, table, keyboard, etc., to the eyes, nose, or mouth may also infect people.
Now the question is: How long does swine flu last?
The H1N1 swine flu usually lasts 3-7 days, although it can stay up to 10 days in people with underlying chronic conditions.
Is there a way to prevent swine flu disease?
Because H1N1 swine flu is a very infectious respiratory disease, taking suitable measures is the safest approach to avoid illness. To prevent H1N1 influenza, it is recommended to get the swine flu vaccine. Adults can get vaccines through injections, and nasal sprays are available for above six months old children.
Swine Flu Vaccination Shot!
The influenza vaccine is essential because the flu and coronavirus illness (COVID-19) have similar symptoms, and the flu vaccine may lessen symptoms identical to those caused by Covid-19. The vaccine helps prevent the disease and the severity of sickness and hospitalizations.
The flu vaccination is given as an injection and a nasal spray. The nasal spray is safe to use in healthy individuals aged 2 to 49. Pregnant women, children aged 2 to 4 with asthma or wheezing, and people with health complications are not advised to use the nasal spray.
How to protect yourself from swine flu?
Precautions to take to avoid swine flu infections are as follows:
- Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing and then wash your hands with soap and water.
- Always sanitize surfaces before touching them.
- When in public, avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
- Wash your hands regularly. If soap and water are not available, a hand sanitizer can be used instead.
- Maintain a social distance from others in crowded places and during flu season.
Check out the symptoms, and treatments for swine flu.