Swine Flu


Technically, the term “swine flu” refers to influenza in pigs. Occasionally, pigs transmit influenza viruses to people, mainly to hog farmers and veterinarians. Less often, someone infected with swine flu passes the infection to others. The disease is spread among pigs by direct and indirect contact, aerosols and from pigs that are infected but do not have symptoms. In many parts of the world, pigs are vaccinated against swine flu. Swine flu produces most of the same symptoms in pigs as human flu produces in people. Swine flu can last about one to two weeks in pigs that survive.

Swine flu is of the H1N1 influenza subtype. However, swine flu viruses can sometimes come from other subtypes, such as H1N2, H3N1 and H3N2. In August 2010, the World Health Organization declared the pandemic over. Since that time, scientists have changed the way they name viruses. The H1N1 virus is now known as H1N1v. In a number of instances, people have developed the swine flu infection when they are closely associated with pigs (for example, farmers, pork processors) and likewise, pig populations have occasionally been infected with the human flu infection.

Swine influenza is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from people sneezing or coughing. It is not transmitted by eating cooked pork products. 

Fast Facts of Swine Flu

  • Swine flu was normally of the H1N1 influenza subtype. However, since 2017 the H3N2 subtype has become the dominant strain.
  • Swine flu viruses may mutate (change) so that they are easily transmissible among humans.
  • Swine flu is contagious about one day before symptoms develop to about five to seven days after symptoms develop some patients may be contagious for a longer time span.
  • There is currently a vaccine for swine flu that is included with the standard seasonal flu shots.
  • Since 2011, another strain H3N2v has been circulating in humans and also causes the flu. Both strains are included in the flu vaccine for 2018-19.
  • There are various methods listed in this article to help individuals from getting the flu.

Symptoms of Swine Flu

The signs and symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of infections caused by other flu strains and can include:

  • Fever (but not always)
  • nasal secretions
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Cough ( usually dry )
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle ache
  • Watery, red eyes
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Causes for Swine flu

Influenza viruses infect the cells that line your nose, throat and lungs. The virus enters your body when you inhale contaminated droplets or transfer live virus from a contaminated surface to your eyes, nose or mouth. The newest swine flu virus that has caused swine flu is influenza A H3N2v (commonly termed H3N2v) that began as an outbreak in 2011. Contacted with infected Pigs and Contacted infected Persons are the most common way of catching Swine Flu. You can’t catch swine flu from eating pork.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It’s not necessary to see a doctor if you’re generally healthy and develop flu signs and symptoms, such as fever, cough and body aches. Swine flu is presumptively diagnosed clinically by the patient’s history of association with people known to have the disease and their symptoms listed above. The most commonly used test is called a rapid influenza diagnostic test, which looks for substances (antigens) on a swab sample from the nose or back of the throat. The CDC recommended only hospitalized patients flu virus strains are sent to reference labs to be identified. H3N2v flu strains and other flu virus strains are diagnosed by similar methods.

The best treatment for influenza infections in humans is prevention by vaccination. There are some drugs available that can effectively treat swine flu. The injectable vaccine, made from killed H1N1 became available in the second week of October 2009. People who are over 10 years old only require one shot of the vaccine. There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs that are sometimes prescribed within the first day or two of symptoms to reduce the severity of symptoms and possibly the risk of complications. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Zanamivir (Relenza), Peramivir (Rapivab) and Baloxavir (Xofluza)

Remember, pain relievers may make you more comfortable, but they won’t make your symptoms go away faster and they have side effects.

Precautions for Swine Flu

According to World Health Organization, swine flu has been declared as a pandemic disease. The following are the WHO safety precautions to be taken against this infection:

  • The nose and mouth must be covered with disposable tissues while coughing or sneezing.
  • A good sleep and rest can also help to build up immunity against infections.
  • Do not share your handkerchief and do not share eyeglasses, forks and foods.
  • Hygiene and cleanliness must be maintained by washing hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Eat vegetables and fruits rice in Vitamin A and C. These include carrots, orange, amla, papaya, pineapple, lime lemon and tangerine.
  • One should stay at home from work, school and crowded places, if flu-like symptoms are observed.
  • When you travel outside, you should have alcohol based hand sanitizer. Use it regularly to avoid touch contact with swine flu viruses.
  • The school authorities should wash the surfaces like doorknobs, toys, keyboards, etc., at least twice a day.

Home remedies for Swine Flu

  • Washing hands regularly with soap.
  • Eat Garlic. It is one of the best remedy to reduce Swine Flu.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.
  • Tulsi keeps your throat and lungs clear of infection and strengthen your immune system against swine flu.
  • Exercising often.
  • Drink lots of Water.
  • Turmeric will help you fight the swine flu infection.
  • Managing stress.
  • Drinking liquids.
  • Olive leaves also help you to prevent Swine Flu.
  • Eating a balanced diet.
  • Refraining from touching surfaces that may have the virus.