Swine Flu - Know the symptoms and precautions one should take

By Medical Expert Team

Feb 16 , 2015 | 3 min read

What is Swine Flu?

  • Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease caused by Type A influenza virus
  • Swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and spreads from human to human

What are its signs and symptoms of swine flu?

  • Fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue
  • Some people may have diarrhoea and vomiting associated with swine flu
  • Swine flu may cause worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions

How does it spread?

  • Swine flu is very contagious and spreads mainly through sneezing, coughing or by touching something with live flu viruses on it and then touching the mouth or nose.

Who are at risk?

  • Pregnant women
  • Household Contacts & caregivers for infants
  • Healthcare & emergency medical services personnel
  • All children and young adults between 6 months to 24 yrs
  • People between 25yrs & 65yrs who have health conditions associated with higher risk of Medical complications from influenza

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?

  • Infected people may be able to infect others even before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick.
  • That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?

  • The virus can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with the virus and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. The virus can then be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, doorknob, child’s toy or phone handset and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How long can viruses live outside the body?

  • We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.
  • Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can you do to protect yourself from getting sick?

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can spread this way.
  • Gargle twice a day with warm salt water. The virus takes 2-3 days to proliferate and simple gargling can prevent it.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

What should I do if I get sick?

  • If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea , consult the doctor.
  • If you are sick, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
  •  If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs seek emergency medical care:

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Bluish skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
    • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

  • No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can’t get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products are safe.
  • Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F (72°C) kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

Household Cleaning, Laundry, and Waste Disposal

  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, children’s toys, phone handles, and doorknobs) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
  • Clothes, eating utensils and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but it is important that these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
  • Wash linen (such as bed sheets and towels) by using household laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. Avoid ‘hugging’ laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating yourself. Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub right after handling dirty laundry.
  • Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

Source : JohnsonDiversey

Written and Verified by:

Medical Expert Team

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