Symptoms of swine flu

Although the name ’swine flu’ brings
up a lot of extra fear and worry, it is important to note that swine flu is just
an influenza A H1N1 virus.
As the cases of Swine flu infections are on a rise
in India the government has issued its
directives on the deadly A (H1N1) human influenza. The World Health Organisation
has already declared as the worst pandemic in last 41
years.

symptoms of swine flu

Origin

Swine Flu is a respiratory disease,
caused by a strain of the influenza virus known as H1N1.
Although, H1N1 is
the same strain that causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans, the latest type
is different as it is a mutated version containing genetic material that is
generally found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine
(pigs).
What has happened this time is that the flu viruses from humans and
pigs have swapped genetic components with each other, and evolved into a
completely new variety – Hence the absence of any concrete treatment plan for
it.
Although the strain may have originated in pigs, it is now a wholly human
disease and is being transmitted person-to-person.

Swine Flu
Symptoms

According to the CDC, like seasonal
flu, symptoms of swine flu infections can include:

  • fever,
    which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes
    absent
  • cough
  • runny nose
    or stuffy nose
  • sore
    throat
  • body
    aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue or
    tiredness, which can be extreme
  • diarrhea
    and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal
    flu

symptoms of swine flu

Swine Flu High Risk
Groups

With regular seasonal flu, infants
and the elderly are usually thought to be most at risk for serious infections,
in addition to people with chronic medical problems. Swine flu high risk groups,
people who are thought to be at risk for serious, life-threatening infections,
are a little different and can include:

  • pregnant
    women
  • people
    with chronic medical problems, such as chronic lung disease, like asthma,
    cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and
    immunosuppression
  • children
    and adults with obesity

Serious Swine Flu
Symptoms

More serious symptoms that would
indicate that a child with swine flu would need urgent medical attention
include:

  • Fast
    breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or
    gray skin color
  • Not
    drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or
    persistent vomiting
  • 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

Swine Flu
Symptoms vs. a Cold or Sinus Infection

It
is important to keep in mind most children with a runny nose or cough will not
have swine flu and will not have to see their pediatrician for swine flu
testing.

Symptoms of swine flu

How to Get Swine Flu
Treatment

Step 1: Call Your Doctor if You
Think You Have Swine Flu

  • f you are
    experiencing flu symptoms, and believe you may have been exposed to swine flu,
    contact your doctor immediately. They can take a swab of mucous and send it to
    the appropriate state laboratory to determine if you actually have swine
    flu.CDC: Guidance for Clinicians & Public Health Professionals Guidance
    for Clinicians & Public Health Professionals While the treatment you
    receive will depend on the severity of your symptoms, an accurate diagnosis
    will help your doctor properly plan your course of
    treatment.

Step 2: Caring for Swine Flu at
Home

  • As of
    April 28, 2009, most patients with swine flu in the United
    States have been successfully cared for at
    home. If someone in your household has swine flu, there are several things you
    should do.
  1. Take
    precautions to avoid spreading the disease to any one else.

    1. Keep the
      patient isolated from the rest of the householdCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
    2. The
      patient should cover coughs and sneezes.CDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
    3. Everyone
      in the house should practice frequent hand washingCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
    4. Patients
      should avoid contact with people outside the home for 7 days after the first
      symptoms appearCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
  2. Make sure
    the sick person gets plenty of rest and clear fluids.CDC: Interim
    Guidance for Swine influenza A (H1N1)
  3. Although
    over the counter medications may be useful in alleviating flu symptoms, do not
    give medications containing aspirin to children or teenagers because of the
    danger of Reye’s Syndrome.CDC: Interim
    Guidance for Swine influenza A (H1N1)
  4. Ask the
    doctor if the patient, as well as other family members, should be taking an
    antiviral drug.

Step 3: When an Antiviral Drug
Should be Prescribed for Swine Flu

Viruses can develop resistance to
medications used to treat them. The H1N1 virus is resistant to two commonly
prescribed antivirals, amantadine and rimantadine. As of April 2009, Tamiflu
and Relenza were still effective in reducing the severity and duration of
swine flu symptoms.The New York Times: Tracking Swine Flu (April 26,
2009)

  1. The CDC
    has issued guidelines for which patients who have confirmed, probable or
    suspected novel influenza should be treated with antivirals:

    1. All
      hospitalized patientsCDC: Antiviral Drugs and H1N1 Flu (April 29,
      2009)
    2. Children
      under 5, and adults over 65CDC: Antiviral
      Drugs and H1N1 Flu
      (April 29, 2009)
    3. All
      nursing home residentsCDC: Antiviral
      Drugs and H1N1 Flu
      (April 29, 2009)
    4. Patients
      18 and younger taking long term aspirin therapyCDC: Antiviral
      Drugs and H1N1 Flu
      (April 29, 2009)4
    5. Patients
      who have chronic illnesses, such as chronic pulmonary (including asthma),
      cardiovascular (except hypertension), kidney, liver, hematological,
      neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disordersCDC: Antiviral
      Drugs and H1N1 Flu
      (April 29, 2009)4
    6. Immunosuppressed patientsCDC: Antiviral
      Drugs and H1N1 Flu
      (April 29, 2009)
    7. Pregnant
      womenCDC: Antiviral Drugs and H1N1 Flu (April 29,
      2009)
  2. People in
    the high risk groups above, and their close contacts, may be prophylactically
    treated with Tamiflu or Relenza to prevent swine flu. Prophylactic treatment
    should be continue for 10 days after the last confirmed exposureCDC: Antiviral Drugs
    and H1N1 Flu
    (April 29, 2009)

Step 4: Signs that Immediate Medical
Care is Needed for Swine Flu

  • While most
    U.S. swine flu patients to date
    have been successfully cared for at home, there are symptoms that require
    immediate medical attention. These include:
  1. Difficulty
    breathingCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
    (H1N1)
  2. Chest
    painCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
    (H1N1)
  3. Purple or
    blue discoloration of the lipsCDC: Interim
    Guidance for Swine influenza A (H1N1)
  4. Persistent
    vomitingCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
    (H1N1)
  5. Signs of
    dehydration

    1. Dizziness when standingCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
    2. Reduced
      urine volumeCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
    3. In
      infants – lack of tears when crying, dry diapersCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
      (H1N1)
  6. SeizuresCDC: Interim
    Guidance for Swine influenza A (H1N1)
  7. Confusion
    or other signs of altered mental status, such as being less responsive than
    normalCDC: Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A
    (H1N1)

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