‘Swine’ name was given to this when there was a misconception that it occurs only in patients near to pigs. It was proven wrong later. Swine flu looks like a normal flu. It is caused by H1N1 virus. As it is a viral disease, it is contagious and spreads easily.
Swine Flu – A Global Threat
Turning on your television, listening to the rapid growing number of swine flu patients in Pakistan might have threatened you. For the past few years our neighbor India has been fighting this disease. But on 10th of August, 2009 Pakistan diagnosed its first patient of swine flu in Karachi. He was a 14 year old child sent to Pakistan for treatment. Later a pregnant woman died of swine flu. And now the whole Punjab has confirmed a number of cases of swine flu.
What Are The Symptoms Of Swine Flu?
It is not easy to differentiate between a normal flu and swine flu as its symptoms are almost the same. Following are a few common symptoms seen in a swine flu patient:
- Sore throat
- Pain in stomach
- Running nose
How Does One Get This Virus?
Virus spreads from patient to a healthier person and the cycle continues. When the patient coughs or sneezes he spreads the virus in air and things around him. The healthier can be caught by it easily. Normally patient spreads this virus one day before he gets its first symptom and 7 days after getting it. This virus usually does not spread from pigs to humans directly but in some cases like pig farms the workers are at a great risk of getting it.
Who Are At Greater Risk?
It is not harmful normally but there are some cases where it can get severe and can even cause death of the patient. Pregnant woman is at a greater risk than a woman who is not pregnant. Infants can get its severe form. Cases of Patients over 60 are less. The patients of diabetes get its severe form, the heart patients are more vulnerable to it. It can worse the diseases related to lungs.
How To Avoid It?
One can avoid swine flu by wearing a mask at least near flu patients. Wash hands before every meal. The patients of simple or swine flu should not sneeze in air instead keep a cloth or hand on their mouth. Wash your hands with alcohol based sanitizer. Avoid people with flu. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes without washing them.
What Should I Do If I Get It?
One should stay home as much as possible to avoid its spread. Avoid gatherings, public transport and work. Consult a doctor. He will prescribe you medicines do your tests to confirm it.
Some doctors are against taking antiviral drugs before getting a flu as it has caused many cases of swine with drug resistant H1N1. If symptoms have appeared you can take antiviral drugs.
Are There Vaccines For It?
Vaccines are the same as that of simple influenza flu. One can take it as a spray or through injections. The purpose is to alert the immune system to start making antibodies against the virus before we encounter it.
What Are The Common Drugs Used?
Tamiflu and Relenza are the common drugs used for the treatment of swine flu. There are other antibiotics as well. Other than rest, it requires a bit treatment too.
Swine flu has become a global threat. It has caused many deaths all over the world and now it has reached Pakistan. Awareness of it is required. We as responsible citizens should spread the word!