Swine Flu (H1N1)

Swine flu(H1N1) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people, identified in April 2009 in the United States of America. It has been believed that Swine flu had similarities with that of an influenza virus causing disease in pigs. But recent studies reveal that it is different from that virus of pigs.

Spread

Flu viruses spread mainly through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

At this time, there is no proven evidence of spread of virus through pork. But the risk cannot be ignored. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

From drinking water

Tap water that has been treated by conventional disinfection processes does not likely pose a risk for transmission of influenza viruses. No research has been completed on the susceptibility of the novel H1N1 flu virus to conventional drinking water treatment processes. However, recent studies have demonstrated that free chlorine levels typically used in drinking water treatment are adequate to inactivate highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza. It is likely that other influenza viruses such as novel H1N1 would also be similarly inactivated by chlorination.

To date, there have been no documented human cases of influenza caused by exposure to influenza  through contaminated drinking water.

Water sports including Swimming pools?

Recreational water that has been treated disinfectant levels (1–3 parts per million [ppm or mg/L] for pools and 2–5 ppm for spas) does not likely pose a risk for transmission of influenza viruses. No documented human cases of influenza caused by exposure to influenza-contaminated swimming pool water. No research has been completed on the susceptibility of the novel H1N1 flu virus to chlorine and other disinfectants used in swimming pools, spas, water parks, interactive fountains, and other treated recreational venues.

Clinical Features

Similar to the symptoms of regular human flu Swine flu will have following symptoms Fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Can also have diarrhea and vomiting.

Avalability of medicines?

Yes. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. During the current outbreak, the priority use for influenza antiviral drugs is to treat severe influenza illness.

Preventive Measures

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against this new H1N1 virus. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

  • 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. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

Is my illness swine flu?

If you live in areas where cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

Author Name:

Dr Prasun Mishra

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