15 Swine Flu Symptoms Most People Ignore
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
A new flu virus caused a global pandemic in 2009-2010. Because of its similarity to the flu virus that attacks pigs, it was christened as Swine Flu. The A/H1 pdm09 or the more commonly known H1N1 virus strain was first discovered in 2009 in Mexico.
The epidemic spread from one country to another rapidly because it was still an unknown entity and people’s immunity to it was not developed to fight it.
But it was not as consequential as originally feared.
It affected the young more than the older generation. People with other serious health concerns succumbed to it.
WHO declared the Swine flu epidemic officially over in August 2010.
Where Does the H1N1 Virus Currently Stands?
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.
How Does The Swine Flu Virus Spread?
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!
How Does The H1N1 Flu Manifests Itself?
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.
What Symptoms Should I Be On The Lookout For Concerning Swine Flu?
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:
- Unexpected fever of 38? or 100.4? or more
- Dry and chesty cough
- Feeling of weakness and tiredness
- Experiencing chill
- Throbbing muscles
- Pain in the joints or limbs
- Abdominal cramps or diarrhoea
- Vomiting and nausea
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Not feeling hungry
- Constant sneezing
- Having difficulty falling asleep
- Watery and red eyes.
Which H1N1 Symptoms Should Make Me Visit The ER?
Listed below are certain symptoms that should be considered serious enough to visit the hospital ASAP.
- Fever with rashes
- Flu symptoms get better but come back with a torrid fever and bad cough
- Irritable child who doesn’t even want to be comforted
- Sleeping continuously without waking or disinclined to interact
- Not taking sufficient fluids
- The skin has a bluish tinge
- Has trouble breathing or breathing rapidly.
- Feeling shortness of breath or has difficulty breathing
- Feeling pressure in abdomen or chest
- Sudden dizziness
- Feeling confused
- Severe vomiting
- Flu symptoms return back with fever and bad cough.
People Who Are More Likely To Contract The H1N1 Virus Than Most
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:
- lung or heart disease,
- people on immunosuppressants ,
- and kidney diseases.
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.
Who Else Can Be Affected With The H1N1 Virus Besides The High-Risk Individuals?
Some other people who are susceptible to falling sick because of the swine flu virus are:
- Residents of chronic-care and nursing facilities.
- American Indians or Natives of Alaska.
- Obese people, whose BMI is over 40.
- Health-care professionals.
- Household contact and caregivers to the sick, especially if they fall under the high-risk category.
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.
What Should I Do If I Fall Sick Because of Swine Flu?
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.
What About Preventive Vaccinations?
Also, it is better if one takes the available preventive Swine Flu shot just like the vaccination for seasonal flu, regularly.
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.
How About H1N1 Preventive Medication?
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.
What Should I Do To Prevent Spreading Of H1N1?
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.
- The Swine Flu virus can’t survive a temperature as high as 167? – 212? or 75? – 100?.
- Chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, non-organic germicides, and other products like alcohols, iodine-rich antiseptics, and detergents, are effective against the influenza virus in humans.
Their effectiveness depends on the concentration of the solution and the duration of usage.
- In case soap, water, or alcohol based substances are not available for cleaning, hand sanitizers can do in a pinch!
- Desks, doorknobs, books, utensils, etc. are most likely to become the unintentional virus carriers.
- Children’s toys, kitchen and bathroom counters, beside tables, should be wiped cleaned by household disinfectants.
- Last but not the least, keep washing your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.