Swine flu which is also known as swine influenza is a respiratory disease. The influenza virus that has hit the respiratory system of pigs, is the main reason to cause this disease.
History of Swine Flu
In the 1930s, some of the veterinarian and pork producers diagnosed the disease in the isolated porks. Soon the disease spread rapidly because of human interaction with the pigs. Either, they were farmers or pork producers. The disease is not just the result of transmission from pigs, in fact also from humans to pigs in the same manner. It remained confined to the local areas, instead of national and international basis. The cross-species scenarios with influenza virus were found to vary which urged the world to recognize it as the disease finally in 2009 in Mexico. H1N1 flu was the name coined for it because of its potential to hit the two surface antigens, N1 called Neuraminidase type 1 and H1 known as hemagglutinin type 1.
Transmission of the Disease
The swine flu is transmitted in two ways, either from pigs to human beings or human beings to human beings. The disease is transmitted from the bigs to the human beings through interaction with it. The pigs already infected with the disease are the high source of transmitting swine flu to its handlers. Even the veterinarian treating the pigs are highly vulnerable to the disease.
While the human beings are not considered to be a major source of spreading, still they are also one of the sources of transmitting disease despite with no interaction with the infected animals. It is because of the widespread of virus in human beings due to their sneezing and coughing, that spreads the virus as interacting with droplets in the air. It is not at all, transmitted through the food.
The disease can be spread to hundred people through an individual person. Any droplet measuring 0.5 to 5 µm in diameter or a single virus can be the source of infecting an individual. 40000 droplets are released in every sneeze. The droplets are able to stay in the air or get down on objects. When the contaminated objects are touched, they are one of the source of spreading swine flu.
Avian influenza has the indefinite survival, once it’s frozen. Whereas, it can survive for 1-2 days on objects like metal or plastic and it can stay for 15 days on the tissue. But, it takes just 5 minutes on the skin for survival.
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A research conducted on the survival of influenza virus on banknotes that are distributed in billions daily stated that the virus survives for three days in concentration and hits the highest days of survival of 17 days in the mucus. However, the latest virus H3H2v is not contagious and easily spread in human beings until in direct contact with the pigs. This is quite worrying because if it is easily viral through genes, then it needs another remedy.
Due to the humidity level and UV radiation, the virus survives maximum in the winter season. So be careful, we are prone to the disease much more in winter.
Symptoms of Swine Flu
The symptoms of swine flu are not very different than the normal flu. You need to worry and get the check from your doctor if you notice the respiratory infection. Both the viruses, H1N1 and H3N2v cause respiratory issues like a sore throat and coughing. The victim might get fever as well. Headaches, body aches, fatigue, and chills are also the signs of swine flu to be noticed. Some have also reported for vomiting, diarrhea or nausea.
Children might not report for all signs but will inform for short breaths. After exposure to the virus, it may take three days to develop completely. Doctors might do the culture of respiratory secretion like throat/ nasal secretion or sputum, but being an expensive one, it is not practiced for diagnosis in first preference.
Rapid tests might provide the inaccurate results so specific tests for genetic material of the virus such as polymerase chain reaction(PCR) are done. In widespread of the disease in society, specific testings are not preferred and symptoms are studied. However, if you are having any chronic disease like asthma, diabetes, emphysema or heart diseases, visit the doctor is a must.
Laboratory testings have proved that human influenza can be treated with 3 antivirals medicines. They are zanamivir (Relenza), oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and peramivir (Rapivab). Oseltamivir is found in pills and the zanamivir is available in inhaled medications. Peramivir is sent in the body through intravenous(IV) drips. It should be given on prescription of drugs, particularly to the people with the medical history or chronic diseases. Older medicines like amantadine (Symmetrel) are not effective enough.
Medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) for reducing fever and aches can be given. But medicines containing aspirin should be avoided for children of 18 years or under because there are chances of Reye’s syndrome.
Developing the flu and having warm chicken and mushroom soup will ease your sore throat and relieve you from respiratory disease. Just not that only, keep yourself hydrated with 8-10 glasses of water at least. Download Water Drink Reminder app or WaterLogged-Daily hydration Tracker app on your androids to combat the flu. Oh yes! Have rest too, to recover soon with the more efficient immune system.
Prevention of the disease
• Don’t forget to stay back at home as soon you are diagnosed with swine flu because it is highly contagious.
• Wash your hands with soaps and water frequently and very thoroughly. If short of both things, go for sanitizers with the alcohol base.
• While coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue.
• Avoid going to barns or crowded areas that may increase the intensity of your flu as well put others at danger.
• If anyone ill at your home, assign responsibility to a single person instead of everybody serving the patient and increasing the risks.
• People with 65 years above, children under five years or people with chronic illness should avoid the causes to stay safe.