Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Swine Flu (Transmission, Symptoms & Prevention)

:: Swine Flu ::

What is Swine Flu?

Swine Flu, or Swine Influenza, is a respiratory illness in pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes flu in pigs. The viruses cause elevated levels of illness in the animals but yields a low death rate. Although the virus can happen year round, most incidences and outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months, just like human influenza.


There are currently four identified main influenza type A viruses in pigs:

  • H1N1
  • H1N2
  • H3N2
  • H3N1

The most recently isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been the H1N1 viruses. The first classical swine flu virus, which is influenza type A H1N1 virus, was first identified in a pig almost 80 years ago, in 1930.


How Does the Flu Infect Humans?

Although most Swine Flu does not normally infect humans, sporadic human infections with swine flu do happen. Usually, transmission occurs in people with direct exposure to pigs. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. The most recent outbreak is of concern because there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others.


Transmission of Swine Flu: (How is Swine Flu spread?)

As with other flu like illnesses, Swine flu is spread as follows:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Kissing
  • Touching infected objects
  • Touching nose, mouth and/or eyes with infected hands


Swine Flu Symptoms:

Symptoms of Swine flu may including all or some of the following:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite


Complications Of Swine Flu And Higher Risk Individuals:

Those at higher risk include those with the following:

  • Age of 65 years or older
  • Chronic health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children

Complications (for all patients but especially for those at higher risk) can include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Death


Prevention of Swine Flu:

  • Covering nose and mouth with a tissue upon coughing and sneezing followed by proper disposal of the tissue.
  • Avoiding contact with ill persons.
  • Avoiding the urge to touch nose, mouth and eyes in general.
  • Staying home form work and/or school upon onset and for the duration of symptoms.
  • Assuring adequate and thorough hand washing and use of alcohol based hand cleansers (in the absence of proper hand washing facilities).
  • Providing tissues in common areas of homes, common and public areas.
  • Encouraging pursuit of medical evaluation at earliest onset of symptoms.
  • Use of masks to those who are exhibiting symptoms or who are ill.
  • Maintenance of a 3 to 6 foot perimeter around a coughing patient.



Helpline Numbers:

All India toll free H1N1 helpline: 1075 or 1800-11-4377

Delhi: Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital: 011-24525211, 23404328, 23365525

Deen Dayal Hospital: 011-2512 5259

Chennai: Communicable Diseases Hospital - 044-25912686.

Coimbatore Medical College Hospital - 09442012555

Kolkata: Infectious Diseases Hospital: 09433392182/ 09434009077

Hyderabad: AP Chest Diseases Hospital: 040-23814939

Mumbai: Kasturba Hospital: 022-23083901, 23083902, 23083903, 23083904

Pune: Dr Naidu Infectious Disease Hospital - 09923130909

Bangalore: Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases - 91-80-26632634

Lakeside Hospital - 80-5360823.



Best Regards,

Ravi Tripathi


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