"Swine flu" refers to influenza in pigs. Occasionally, pigs transmit influenza viruses to people, mainly to hog farmers and veterinarians. Less often, someone infected passes the infection to others.
The human respiratory infection caused by a particular influenza virus H1N1 strain popularly known as swine flu was first recognized in spring 2009. A few months after the first swine flu cases were reported, rates of confirmed H1N1-related illness were increasing in much of the world. As a result, the World Health Organization declared the infection a global pandemic.
The pandemic was declared over in August 2010. Currently, H1N1 is still circulating in humans as a seasonal flu virus and is included in the seasonal flu vaccine.
Getting the flu vaccine is your best protection against H1N1.
You cannot get H1N1 from properly handled and cooked pork or pork products.
Symptoms of H1N1 are similar to seasonal flu symptoms.
Swine Flu Transmission
Swine influenza (novel H1N1 and H3N2v) spreads from person to person, either by inhaling the virus or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, then touching the mouth or nose. Infected droplets are expelled into the air through coughing or sneezing. H3N2v does not spread as easily from person to person as H1N1. This poor transmission rate is likely why there have been so few individuals infected with H3N2v.
Research suggested that H1N1 swine influenza is about as contagious as the usual human influenza. If one person in a household gets swine flu, anywhere from 8%-19% of household contacts likely will get infected. Reports from the southern hemisphere suggest that swine influenza caused slightly more infections than would be normal for an influenza season.
People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms, and as many as 7 days after they get sick. Kids can be contagious for as long as 10 days.
Most symptoms are the same as seasonal flu. They can include:
stuffy or runny nose
Like seasonal flu, swine flu can lead to more serious complications, including pneumonia and respiratory failure. And it can make conditions like diabetes or asthma worse. If you have symptoms like shortness of breath, severe vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, or confusion, call your doctor immediately.
Check this video to understand Swine Flu Symptoms better:
Patients should be encouraged to stay home if they become ill, to avoid close contact with people who are sick, to wash their hands often, and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. The CDC recommends the following actions when human infection with H1N1 influenza (swine flu) is confirmed in a community :
Patients who develop flulike illness (i.e. fever with either cough or sore throat) should be strongly encouraged to self-isolate in their home for 7 days after the onset of illness or at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer.
To seek medical care, patients should contact their doctors to report illness (by telephone or other remote means) before seeking care at a clinic or hospital.
Patients who have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or who are believed to be severely ill should seek immediate medical attention.
If the patient must go into the community (eg, to seek medical care), he or she should wear a face mask to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in the community when coughing, sneezing, talking, or breathing. If a face mask is unavailable, ill persons who need to go into the community should use tissues to cover their mouth and nose while coughing.
While in home isolation, patients and other household members should be given infection control instructions, including frequent hand washing with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand gels (containing at least 60% alcohol) when soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty. Patients with H1N1 influenza should wear a face mask when within 6 feet of others at home.
Getting plenty of rest
Drinking clear fluids like water, soup, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
Placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
Putting a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
Gargling salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat at least 3 times a day.
Covering up with a warm blanket to calm chills
Decongestants can ease discomfort from stuffy noses, sinuses, ears, and chests. Talk to your doctor about which kind is right for you.
Diagnosis of swine flu influenza A infection is done by laboratory analysis. If you have flu like symptoms, your respiratory specimen will be collected, preferably within 4 to 5 days of visible symptoms. A real time PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test is done where the viral genetic material is identified.
Once the patient is tested positive for swine flu, treatment needs to be initiated immediately. According to the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD), swine flu can be completely treated if it is diagnosed at a very early stage.
The antiviral medicines oseltamivir (Tamiflu/Fluvir) and zanamivir (Relenza) are given to diagnosed patients. Oseltamivir is given to in adults as well as to children below the age of 1 year.
As per NICD, the medicine should be administered within 48 hours of the first symptom. The drugs work by inhibiting the ability of virus to release progeny virus particles.
Though exercise is a very important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, those suffering from flu experience tiredness and muscle pain. Just remember that overly intense physical activity may worsen the symptoms by pushing an already-weakened immune system too hard.
So during Flu symptoms complete rest is recommended.You can resume your normal physical activity routine 1 week after symptoms have subsided.
Include the following in your exercise routine-
Stretching: It helps prepare the muscles for activity and helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility.
Cardiovascular or aerobic: This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, and improves the body's ability to use oxygen. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics.
Strengthening: Strengthening exercises for the upper body are especially, as they help increase the strength of your respiratory muscles.
Take these additional steps to protect yourself and people in your home from getting the flu.
You and all healthy people in the house should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently, including after every contact with the sick person, the sick person's room or bathroom, or items used or touched by the sick person.
Remind the sick person to cover coughs and clean his or her hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especially after coughing or sneezing.
Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person and, if possible, have only one adult in the home take care of the sick person. People at increased risk of severe illness from flu should not care for the sick person.
Hold small children who are sick with their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.
Maintain good ventilation in shared household areas (keep windows open in restrooms, kitchen, bathroom, etc.).
Follow proper cleaning and disposal procedures:
oThrow the sick person's tissues and other used disposable items in the trash.
oKeep surfaces clean (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, doorknobs, phones, and children's toys) by wiping them down with an approved household disinfectant.
oClean linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person thoroughly before reusing. You do not need to wash items separately.
Wash linens (such as bed sheets and towels) with laundry soap. Avoid hugging laundry to your body before washing it to prevent contaminating yourself.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C, like grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines. Studies that have shown that high levels of vitamin C help build immunity.
Increase your omega-3 essential fatty acids by selecting high-quality wild-caught salmon, fish oil, avocados, and sprouted walnuts.
Eat raw, organic vegetables after washing them.
Add high-quality fiber to your diet, such as ground flax seed, whole wheat, bran etc.
Choose sprouted, whole-grain products.
Add nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, such as sprouted nuts and seeds, to your diet.
Drink purified water throughout the day.
Don'ts: Foods to eat with caution
- Do not take cold/ sour food items like cold drinks, ice creams, curd etc
- Common allergy-causing foods such as dairy products, eggs, wheat, peanuts and corn (including corn derivatives such as dextrose, corn syrup, fructose, modified starch, corn starch, margarine, shortening, and corn oil)
- All simple or refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, processed snack foods, etc.)
- All foods containing refined sugar or artificial sugar-substitutes such as aspartame.
Alcoholic beverages in excess, since they hinder the functioning of the immune and digestive systems
The most important point to remember about food choices is that a healthy well-balanced diet should contain a variety of foods. Relying on a single food or food group to provide adequate nutrition can be dangerous. Also, replacing fresh fruits and vegetables with supplements has in many cases not been shown to provide the benefit of food and may even be harmful.
Sample Diet Plan
Check more options by going to these links.(3), (1). Do not add SALT while cooking or as seasoning.
(250ml) lukewarm water with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. honey
Almonds/other dry fruits
Ragi Dosa OR 1
Moong Dal DosaOR Oats
full cream Milk (1 cup)
medium Apple OR 1 medium Banana
Early Morning Snack
Cup boiled Sweet potatoes, sprinkled with lemon juice OR Brown rice Poha OR Toast with cream cheese
Coconut water with Malai
dried Figs and 1 whole Walnut OR
large bowl of Salad (carrots,
cucumbers, beets, tomatoes and onions)
- mix Olive oil or cream, lemon
juice and pepper)