Swine flu: Causes, Symptoms, Tests and Vaccine
Swine flu has been known as one of the most popular viral diseases which went pandemic and still prevails in the different part of the world. Well, it is not incurable but can have severe complications that may turn hazardous to your health and can lead to dead in a very short span of time. Here in this article, you’ll come to know about the causes, symptoms along with diagnosis methods and vaccination for swine flu. So let’s see that. First, let’s see what swine flu is.
Swine flu, also known by the popular H1N1 virus, is a new strain of an influenza virus having similar symptoms as that of the regular flu. It was originally discovered from pigs, but it is spread from person to person.
When it was first discovered in 2009, in humans, it became a pandemic. Pandemics are the types of contagious diseases which affect people around the world on multiple continents or regions at the same time.
WHO (World Health Organization) declared it as a pandemic on 2010. Ever since it is known as a regular human flu. It spread during the flu season like any other flu. There is actually a vaccine for prevention of the H1N1 virus as well that is developed by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The H1N1 virus is extremely contagious and it spreads very fast from person to person even in minimal contact. Even a simple sneeze may have a potential to infect a whole room. The virus can spread through other indirect ways like through door knobs and etc.
The best way to deal with any disease is not to get it in the first place. So, to do that you will need to be clean and stay away from infected people or from medical places. Hand sanitization should be done regularly.
Here are some symptoms to the very deadly and feared H1N1 virus. You might be amused that these are just normal flu symptoms. Yes. Swine flu may not have a distinct symptom and that makes it very difficult to diagnose. As we might even ignore normal flu, swine flu may just be messing up with our health and we may realize late. So, if these symptoms seem familiar better have some blood tests.
These are the H1N1 flu symptoms in humans:
- Fever: People who have been diagnosed with swine flu have reported that they experienced high temperature or fever but it was always found that this doesn’t happen always. People having the H1N1 virus may not experience fever as well. This is what makes it a difficult nut to crack.
- Cough: Coughing is normal but you can match this with the other symptoms and it might be evident that you are having the flu and you can have a deeper diagnosis if you are skeptical.
- Sore throat: You might experience a sore throat as well. It is quite a basic thing but collective to other symptoms, the disease might just be evident.
- Runny or stuffy nose: Like when you have a common cold or such flu, you might have red and runny or stuffy nose. It is quite irritating and you will know if that happens. It is also a symptom of swine flu.
- Watery, red eyes: This is not a distinct feature as it happens in most health conditions but you are likely to have red eyes and the eyes may look watery as well.
- Body aches & Headache: You might experience a headache and heavy headed or body aches and cramp might occur as well.
- Fatigue: You might start feeling your body and you might be extremely tired even when you haven’t done anything.
- Diarrhea: Not always, but patients have reported about not having a healthy bowel movement and digestion. Some have experienced diarrhea and if you’re having flu symptoms along with diarrhea, this can mean something like swine flu so make sure about it by getting tested.
- Nausea and vomiting: Viral infections always make you nauseous and so does the H1N1 virus.
H1N1 flu symptoms don’t develop right away but it takes a couple of days after you’re exposed to the H1N1 virus.
Causes of Swine Flu
Well, the cause of swine flu is basically the H1N1 virus. But we can now break that down to what causes you to get the swine flu itself. So, let’s get to it.
Risk Factors of getting swine flu virus a.k.a. H1N1 virus:
Sneezing and Coughing: Sneezing is one of the main cause of catching this virus. If an infected person sneezes without using a handkerchief near you, you have a very high chance of getting the virus as there is direct exposure to the virus. If you know swine flu is prevailing in your area, you can just wear masks and be secure. Coughing is also the same. If a guy coughs anywhere in near proximity to you and if he is infected, just be aware.
Touching a germ-covered area and then touching their organs like eyes or nose can also cause this. This is more of an indirect approach to the spreading of the germs. If an infected person has touched something and if the same thing is touched by a normal person and if the virus gets to any of his organs through his hand, he/she will get infected too.
Diagnosis of Swine Flu
Here are some tips on how swine flu is actually diagnosed.
Diagnosis of swine flu, like any other health condition, is made based on the symptoms of the disease and its recorded history.
Swine flu, as I mentioned before, is quite a difficult condition to diagnose because its symptoms coincide with a lot of other usual flu infections and create confusion.
Firstly, the features of swine flu are seen before diagnosing. Here is what it is like.
Features of swine flu
According to the CDC, swine flu is diagnosed if the following features are present:
Fever and infection by 7 days of being in a close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus and hasn’t cured.
Fever and infection by 7 days of traveling to a community (within or across the country) where the cases of H1N1 influenza virus is very high.
Fever and infection were seen in a person who is living in a community that has at least one case of being diagnosed with the H1N1 virus.
Confirmation of the diagnosis
Here is a tip about how to really confirm the diagnosis. There is no any better way than to perform some tests. These tests include blood tests and chest X-rays including others too.
Routine blood tests
Viral infections do not really cause many significant changes in the blood sample so, the blood test may not help completely but it is important because it helps in calculating the counts of blood components required for knowing how immune a person is.
Any traces of bacterial infection can be directly eliminated with your routine blood test and the counts such as hemoglobin, RBCs, WBCs, etc. also determines how likely you are to carry this condition.
Chest X-rays are not really for swine flu but if a doctor has to go through thoroughly, he will recommend one. This is because they need to determine the risk of complications like pneumonia on you for proper treatment.
Nose or throat swab
A nose or throat swab is taken for testing purpose and the test occurs really rapidly. In fact, the laboratory might tell if influenza types above-mentioned or B in as fast as 15 minutes.
The sample of the material secreting from the patient’s nose or throat is taken for about first 4 to 5 days of illness. This is because this period is the most infectious period of swine flu.
As a normal person sheds this virus, children doesn’t shed until the span is 10 days or longer. It may take a while for reporting and detecting.
If you have a widespread infection of swine flu, you don’t need special attention and your problem can be solved like the regular swine flu problems. Just the symptoms help in getting the treatment.
Vaccine for H1N1 virus
The injectable swine influenza virus vaccine, also called as, killed virus vaccine and swine influenza virus vaccine available in a nasal spray form, this one is called a live virus vaccine.
Don’t use it on very old people or babies less than 6 months old.
This vaccine will prevent swine flu from happening but it won’t help who has already been diagnosed with it.
In this way, here in this article, some brief concept about swine flu has been mentioned. You can get knowledge about how it occurs, what happens when it occurs and the risk factors behind it. Vaccination was also covered with small detail. My advice to you is that see a doctor as soon as you think it is weird and has some flu symptoms as it can very well be the swine flu itself. You can just cram all these above mentioned ideas about the disease and you can have a good knowledge about it.