Swine Influenza also called “Swine Flu” is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs.
Just like humans, pigs can get the flu. The Swine Influenza (swine flu) can be passed from pig to pig by direct contact, indirect contact (e.g., a pig coming in contact with a surface that has the virus), or through tiny particles in the air.
Strains of swine flu (Swine Influenza) virus usually only infect pigs, but they do sometimes infect humans, resulting in human swine flu.
Swine Influenza Causes
Swine Influenza (Swine flu) is caused by a virus. The most common subtype, or strain, is influenza A H1N1, and this subtype has also caused infection in people; however, this H1N1 Swine Influenza virus is different from the H1N1 human virus.
Influenza viruses are constantly changing their genes, a process called a mutation. When a Swine Influenza (swine flu) virus is found in humans, it is said to have “jumped the species barrier.” This means that the virus has mutated in a way that permits it to cause the condition in humans. Because humans haven’t any natural protection or immunity to the virus, they’re likely to become ill.
Humans do not normally become infected with swine influenza. However, there are periodic human infections; most of those cases occur in people with direct exposure to pigs (e.g., people performing on pig farms or slaughterhouses). People have also infected pigs with strains of the human flu virus as well.
Swine Influenza Symptoms
The symptoms of swine flu (Swine Influenza) in humans are very similar to those of seasonal human influenza. People with swine influenza may experience:
- dry cough
- nasal congestion, runny nose
- sore throat
- muscle pain
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- loss of appetite
- tiredness, lack of energy
Some people with swine flu (Swine Influenza) have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Swine Influenza Precautions
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze.
- Use disposable tissues instead of a handkerchief if you have a cold and throw the tissue in the dustbin after use.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth too often as this will cause you contracting the disease.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer).
- Viruses also spread by droplet infections which could have deposited on common objects like phones, laptops, common desks, and chairs so avoid touching too many objects and wash your hands if you do.
- Try and avoid close contact especially with people that have flu. You need to maintain a minimum distance of 5-10 feet to avoid airborne transmission.
- Patients affected by flu should stay indoors at some point post the last episode of fever.
- If someone in your family has Swine Influenza, they should wear a mask, cover their mouth and nose before sneezing, maintain thorough hand hygiene before touching common objects. Here is all that you need to know about the treatments and medications available to fight Swine Influenza (swine flu).
- Children, less than five years of age and the elderly should avoid crowded places. Here are some important tips to save your child from an attack of swine flu.
- Children should attend school unless the local health authority issues an advisory.
- High-risk patients should be more vigilant and visit doctors at the earliest.
- Wear a surgical mask if there is an outbreak of swine flu in your area.
- Be more vigilant than being scared. Also, read to know if a person can lead a normal life after recovering from swine flu.
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