The swine flu (H1N1) is a condition that typically affects pigs. It can trigger a respiratory illness and highly contagious but rarely deadly. The virus circulates among pigs throughout the year but quite common during the late fall and winter season.
Why are humans at risk for swine flu (H1N1)?
Generally, humans do not acquire the swine flu. The virus that affected many individuals back in the 2009-2010 pandemic appears to have mutated into a combination of swine, human and bird influenza and has developed the ability to spread from one human to another. The condition is now called as the pandemic H1N1 influenza.
Signs and symptoms of H1N1
The indications of H1N1 are strikingly similar to the seasonal flu and includes the following:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Occasional vomiting and diarrhea
What to do if I have swine flu?
If the individual is sick with cough, fever or a sore throat, a doctor should be consulted right away. The doctor will determine if there is a need to test for influenza.
In case the individual is sick and has difficulty breathing, it is vital to seek immediate medical care. It is not advisable to go to work, school or travel if the individual is sick. Always wash hands frequently and cover the mouth while coughing to minimize the spread of the illness.
Management for H1N1
The H1N1 flu is a virus similar to any other strain but it does not respond to antiviral medications. It is important to note that these medications will not cure the condition but can shorten the duration, minimize the severity of the symptoms or help avoid it altogether if exposed.
Vaccine for the swine flu
It was only back in 2009 when an H1N1 swine flu vaccine was created. Due to the timing of the pandemic, it was not part of the seasonal flu vaccine back in 2009-2010. There was a separate vaccine that was created in the same manner. It was also extensively tested and discovered both safe and effective against the H1N1 swine flu virus.
Can I acquire swine flu after eating pork?
This a common misconception when it comes to swine flu. The condition could not be acquired after eating pork or other pork products. The swine flu is a respiratory virus and not transported in the meat of animals. Take note that well-cooked pork and other pork products are safe for consumption.