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Definition

What is H1N1 flu?

H1N1 Flu which was also known as swine flu, is caused by H1N1 virus. This virus is a relatively new strain of an influenza virus that causes symptoms similar to the regular flu. It originated in pigs, but is spread primarily from person to person. The H1N1 virus is currently a seasonal flu virus found in humans. Although it also circulates in pigs, you cannot get it by eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products.

Swine flu made headlines in 2009 when it was first discovered in humans and became a pandemic. Pandemics are contagious diseases affecting people throughout the world or on multiple continents at the same time.

How common is H1N1 flu?

This H1N1 flu is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of H1N1 flu?

The common symptoms of H1N1 Flu are:

  • Cough;
  • Fever;
  • Sore throat;
  • Stuffy or runny nose;
  • Body aches;
  • Headache;
  • Chills;
  • Fatigue;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea and vomiting.

These common symptoms are pretty much the same as seasonal flu. Like the regular flu, swine flu can lead to more serious problems including pneumonia, a lung infection, and other breathing problems. And it can make an illness like diabetes or asthma worse

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

 You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

For children:

  • 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:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen;
  • Sudden dizziness;
  • Confusion;
  • Severe or persistent vomiting;
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

 

Causes

What causes H1N1 flu?

H1N1 flu is caused by a strain of influenza virus that usually only infects pigs. Unlike typhus, which can be transmitted by lice or ticks, transmission usually occurs from person to person, not animal to person.

H1N1 flu is very contagious. The disease is spread through saliva and mucus particles. People may spread it by:

  • Sneezing;
  • Coughing;
  • Touching a germ-covered surface and then touching their eyes or nose.

When people who have it cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops of the virus into the air. If you come in contact with these drops, touch a surface (like a doorknob or sink) where the drops landed, or touch something an infected person has recently touched, you can catch H1N1 swine flu. People who have it can spread it one day before they have any symptoms and as many as 7 days after they get sick. Kids can be contagious for as long as 10 days.

Despite the name, you can’t catch swine flu from eating bacon, ham, or any other pork product.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for H1N1 flu?

There are many risk factors for H1N1 flu, such as:

  • Adults over age 65;
  • Children under 5 years old;
  • Young adults under age 19 who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
  • People with compromised immune systems (due to a disease such as AIDS);
  • Pregnant women;
  • People with chronic illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes or neuromuscular disease;
  • People in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is H1N1 flu diagnosed?

Your doctor can make a diagnosis by sampling fluid from your body. To take a sample, your doctor or a nurse may swab your nose or throat. The swab will be analyzed using various genetic and laboratory techniques to identify the specific type of virus.

How is H1N1 flu treated?

Most cases of swine flu don’t require medication for treatment. You don’t need to see a doctor unless you’re at risk for developing medical complications from the flu. You should focus on relieving your symptoms and preventing the spread of the H1N1 to other people.

Two antiviral drugs are recommended for treating swine flu: the oral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). The reason is that flu viruses can develop resistance to these drugs, they’re often reserved for people who are at high risk for complications from the flu. People who are otherwise generally healthy and get swine flu will be able to fight the infection on their own.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage H1N1 flu?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with H1N1 Flu:

  • Get plenty of rest: This will help your immune system focus on fighting the infection.
  • Drink plenty of water and other liquids to prevent dehydration: Soup and clear juices will help replenish your body of lost nutrients.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers for symptoms such as headache and sore throat.
  • Frequently washing hands with soap or hand sanitizer;
  • Not touching your nose, mouth, or eyes (the virus can survive on surfaces like telephones and tabletops);
  • Staying home from work or school if you’re ill;
  • Avoiding large gatherings when swine flu is in season.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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