Swine Flu FAQs

Following are common questions about Swine flu:
  1. What is Swine Flu?
  2. What is H1N1 virus and H3N2 influenza virus?
  3. What are the common Symptoms of Swine Flu?
  4. Who are at the highest risk of getting Swine flu?
  5. What tests will your doctor order to detect swine flu?
  6. Is Swine Flu contagious?
  7. For how long thus swine flu remain contagious?
  8. What is the isolation period of swine flu?
  9. What are the treatment options for Swine Flu?
  10. What is the recovery period of Swine Flu?
  11. What should I eat while recovering from Swine flu?
  12. Can Swine flu be prevented?
  13. Can vaccines guarantee complete prevention?
  14. Can I eat pork?
  15. Are face mask helpful to keep you safe from swine flu?

  1. What is Swine Flu?

    Swine is a synonym of pig and Swine Flu means influenza in pigs. Influenza viruses that cause severe respiratory diseases in pigs can get transmitted to other pigs and even humans; resulting in severe health disorders.

    The first case of Swine flu in humans was recorded in the year 2009 in Mexico. Thereafter, there has been an increase in Swine flu cases all over the world; including India.

  2. What is H1N1 virus and H3N2 influenza virus?

    H1N1 virus is a subtype of the influenza A virus and is a common cause of influenza in humans. H1N1 is a combination of glycoproteins known as haemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Depending upon the number of H and N it contains, the same virus is named as H1N2 or H1N2 and so on.

    Few strains of H1N1 virus cause normal seasonal influenza in humans. However there are specific Strains of H1N1 virus, that have been known to cause influenza in pigs. These can further mutate and enter the human body. Other H1N1 strains cause flu in birds and this is known as avian influenza.

    H3N2v has been determined recently to cause swine flu as compared to H1N1. The ā€œvā€ stands for variant that means the virus was earlier common to pigs alone but has now invaded the human anatomy as well.

  3. What are the common Symptoms of Swine Flu?

    Symptoms of swine flu are not very different from usual influenza symptoms. However, not opting for early diagnosis and treatment may prove fatal.

    Below listed are few of the common symptoms of Swine flu:

    • Some patients may experience fever. However, many don't show high body temperature even when infected by the virus.
    • Dry Cough and sore throat
    • Headache and extreme fatigue
    • Body pain
    • Diarrhea and vomiting
    • Nausea
    • Running nose or some people may even suffer from blocked nose
    • Red and watery eyes
    • Severe cases may show breathing troubles. People already suffering from asthma, mostly show this symptom.
    • Swine flu may even lead to Pneumonia

  4. Who are at the highest risk of getting Swine flu?

    • Infants below age 6 months are very prone to this virus. However, teenagers are also susceptible to a great extent.
    • Pregnant women
    • Elderly people above the age of 50 years or so
    • People already suffering from lung disorders such as Asthma, Pneumonia etc.
    • People who regularly eat pork that is not well cooked, or remain in close association with pigs

  5. What tests will your doctor order to detect swine flu?

    Doctors usually discuss symptoms and your probable chances of exposure to virus. Thereafter, a quick nasopharyngeal swab test is ordered to check for influenza A and B virus. Presence of Influenza B virus does not prove Swine flu, while Influenza A confirms Swine flu.

    Besides, many diagnostic centers now offer specific swine flu test, a combination of tests that are helpful in swine flu detection.

  6. Is Swine Flu contagious?

    Yes. Swine Flu is extensively contagious. It can get transmitted from an infected person through droplets released during sneezing or coughing. Clothes, tissues or anything else that may contain the virus can affect a healthy person who comes in contact with these items.

    Therefore, people infected with the disease need to be kept isolated for preventing spread of the virus. It must be noted that eating well cooked pork cannot transmit the disease.

  7. For how long thus swine flu remain contagious?

    Swine flu is highly contagious just one day prior to visible symptoms that make a person sufficiently ill. For five to seven days, the disease remains contagious; however, the period may even last to 14 days or so.

  8. What is the isolation period of swine flu?

    As evident, isolation period depends on the span during which the disease remains contagious. Therefore, on an average, the isolation period lasts for 4 days to 14 days or so. Your doctor will be the best person to decide your incubation period.

  9. What are the treatment options for Swine Flu?

    Swine Flu can be treated with vaccines. Today, different vaccines that are suitable for people belonging to different age groups, infants and pregnant women, are available. Hospitalization is usually advisable to reduce chances of spread and also facilitates continuous monitoring of patients. Drugs or medications are not very effective as the virus gains resistance to these drugs after few days of administration.

  10. What is the recovery period of Swine Flu?

    Swine flu recovery period absolutely depends upon your immune system and how severe the symptoms are. Approximately, a span of 14 days or so needs to be taken as a minimum recovery period of swine flu. However, people are seen spending a month under treatment as their body shows slower response to treatment processes.

    People suffering from other lung disorders tend to complicate the disease and therefor require more time to recover from the same.

  11. What should I eat while recovering from Swine flu?

    Healthy diet is a key to pace your recovery from any disease. Here's what you need to eat during Swine flu:

    • Hydration is mandatory. Water and juices need to be taken in ample amount
    • Swine flu depends upon your immune system. Proteins, Vitamin C and Zinc are said to strengthen immune system. Therefore, taking food rich in these is substantial to your cure.
    • Swine flu leads to a really bad sore throat. Therefore, curbing food items such as dairy products and those which are sour in taste, can prove beneficial. Instead, drinking water mixed with honey or ground cloves can relieve discomfort to a great extent.
    • Getting enough of Vitamin D is also recommended

  12. Can Swine flu be prevented?

    Yes, swine flu can definitely be prevented. Following are some of the easy to take steps against swine flu:

    • Covering mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. A basic hygiene that does a lot to stop the disease from spreading.
    • Washing your hands is again essential. Viruses are spread through hands that either carry them to mouth or nose when we inhale them. Therefore, washing hands before eating or after sneezing/coughing, after you have returned home etc. is important.
    • Learning more about the flu and discussing vaccines with doctors can also help you to prevent the disease
    • Avoiding unhygienic food
    • Washing fruits and vegetables before intake. Boiling water and taking purifying steps is recommended
    • If you are taking care of any person infected with the swine flu virus, talk to your doctor about safety measures you need to follow

  13. Can vaccines guarantee complete prevention?

    NO. Vaccines do not mean that you will never get the disease. And this again does not mean that you will not opt for vaccines. H1N1 vaccines are 90% effective. And even if you get the disease after shots, you can be assured of an easy recovery and negligible complications.

  14. Can I eat pork?

    Yes, provided it is well cooked under hygienic conditions. Eating pork does not transmit the disease as wrongly thought by many people.

  15. Are face masks helpful to keep you safe from swine flu?

    Wearing a mask and skipping all other preventive measures cannot guarantee swine flu protection. Yes, putting on a mask can definitely be a careful step to fight the virus, but it cannot guarantee complete prevention.


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