Swine flu (H1N1), is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a type-A influenza virus. Outbreaks in pigs occur year-round.
The most common version is H1N1. The current strain is a new variation of an H1N1 virus, which is a mix of human and animal versions.
Swine flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of the influenza virus most are familiar with.
The good news is that most people who become infected will do fine and will not have any long term complications. Those who are immune-compromised, older or pregnant may be at higher risk of complications or serious respiratory illness. The most common swine flu symptoms include:
Precautionary measures you should take to prevent both seasonal flu and swine flu include:
Washing your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are also effective.
Avoiding people who are ill.
Staying home from work or school if you are sick.
Using tissue when you cough, sneeze or spit, and dispose of the tissue in a covered trash bin.
Keeping hands away from your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Cleaning shared space more often such as phone receivers, keyboards, steering wheels and office equipment.
Refraining from sharing personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels.
The viral infection is transmitted to humans who are in contact with swine, although there are several cases of swine flu in people who had no known exposure to either infected people or pigs. Once the species barrier is crossed, human to human transmission can occur with casual contact or airborne transmission, like when one sneezes or coughs. Eating pork products will not cause one to develop the swine flu.
Maintaining adequate hydration is very important if you contract any viral illness. The swine flu is diagnosed when a physician suspects infection, and sends a nasopharyngeal swab in a special viral collection container to a special lab to be tested. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. These medications can also be used for the usual avian influenza.
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