Swine flu

swine flu symptoms

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of swine flu

Viruses thrive in a wide range of environments and even in extreme climatic conditions. Hence the incidences of viral infections are common in different parts of the world. The inhabitants of the tropics and the subtropics are the potential victims of these infections. In such climatic zones, viral infections often lead to epidemic outbreaks. In the low and middle-income countries, viral infections are widespread due to the presence of a large immunocompromised population.

Swine flu is one such infection which at first occurs in pigs and then spreads to the humans. The prevalence rate of the disease is quite high in India. According to the reports of the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 31,156 positive test cases of swine flu have been reported in March 2015, in India. The death toll reached about 1841 in the same year.

 

What is swine flu?

swine flu symptoms Swine flu or swine influenza or pig flu is a viral infection caused by one of the many types of influenza viruses.

The strains of influenza C virus or any of the subtypes of influenza A virus such as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3 may be responsible for the disease.

The disease occurs in the pigs in enzootic or epizootic form.

In enzootic form, the symptoms of the disease are not so prominent and the infection does not spread from the pigs to other animals or humans.In epizootic type, the virus completes all the phases of its life cycle within the body of the pig and presents with certain prominent symptoms.This form of infection is contagious. The symptoms are further augmented by secondary bacterial infections if any.

In human hosts, mainly respiratory symptoms are present. 100% morbidity rates are observed, although the mortality rates are relatively low. The incidence rate of swine flu is quite high in those countries where stray pigs are abundant or the people are used to having pork regularly.

 

How does swine flu transmit?

Swine flu is a highly communicable respiratory disease that readily transmits from one host to another. The commonly observed means of transmission are as follows-

  • Pig to pig transmission: According to CDC, more than half of the breeding pigs are directly exposed to the swine flu virus. Therefore, a pig to pig transmission of the disease is very common. The direct contact between infected and healthy animals mainly occurs when all these animals are transported together to other places. Intensive farming, a type of farming where the pigs are bred very close to each other can lead to the spread of the infection through direct exposure. Respiratory droplets (aerosols) produced by the pigs during sneezing or coughing are also the carriers of the infectious viruses.
  • Pig to human transmission: This is also called zoonotic transmission. People working in the poultries and the farmhouses are at greater risks of these diseases. Veterinarians and the meat processing workers are also at potential risks of this disease. Immunizations of all these workers with all strains of the influenza A and C viruses is necessary in order to protect them from swine flu or other similar diseases.
  • Avian H5N1: Interaction with the avian H5N1 gene can cause swine flu. How it happens needs to be explained. Pigs are often infected with the strains of the influenza virus that can affect mainly three hosts- humans, pigs, and birds. This makes the pigs a site of exchange of genes between the different influenza viruses. These interactions produce more dangerous strains. Studies have shown that the H3N2 originally formed from the H2N2 by antigenic shift.

 

What are the main signs and symptoms of swine flu?

Swine flu produces a range of visible signs and symptoms in both pigs and humans. The signs observed in human beings will be discussed in details in this section. At the onset, the disease is marked by mild to moderate symptoms. These are as follows-

  • Acute onset fever which is mostly intermittent in nature
  • Constant cough
  • Runny and congested nose
  • Soreness in the throat
  • Body aches and chills
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue and general body weakness
  • General malaise
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Pneumonia and respiratory failure

In the more progressive stages, the following symptoms are observed-

  • Increased breathing rate
  • Bluish or greyish discoloration of the skin
  • Dehydration
  • Constant sleeping
  • Lack or loss of interaction
  • Not waking up at normal times (in small children)
  • Irritability (the child does not want to be held)
  • Recurrent influenza-like symptoms
  • Extreme tiredness
  • A throbbing headache
  • Nasal congestion
  • A sore throat

 

What are the main types of swine flu?

swine flu virusSwine flu is classified according to the type of virus causing the infection, that is Influenza A and C. These are described below-

Influenza A: Four Influenza subtypes viz H1N1, H1N2, H2N3, H3N1 and H3N2 usually cause swine flu. Among all these, the H1N1 strain is the most prevalent. Studies have shown that the H3N2 originally formed from the H2N2 by antigenic shift.

Influenza C: Incidences of Influenza C infection is rare since it has a limited genetic diversity and a limited host range. Also, its host range is also limited.

 

What are the necessary diagnostic tests for detecting swine flu?

Swine flu has symptoms similar to that of common cold and flu and pneumonia. Hence a differential diagnosis is necessary to rule out these two diseases. In the next step, the following diagnostic tests may help-

  • Real-time PCR
  • Oropharyngeal swab test

The ongoing research works are being directed towards devising point-of-care tests for diagnosing swine flu patients.

 

How can you treat swine flu?

Oseltamivir medications are the best means of treating swine flu via prophylactic treatment. Chemo Prophylaxis is also one effective way of treating the disease. Other supportive therapies include administering intravenous fluids to compensate for the acute dehydration and oxygen therapies.

 

Prevention

Vaccinations can help prevent swine flu to some extent. But other protective measures to stay away from the virus should also be adopted. Proper diagnosis should be carried out in all cases to determine the exact cause of infection. Consultation with an expert must be done before resorting to self-medication, in order to avoid the side-effects caused by any over-the-counter drugs.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Always cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing and wash your hands frequently.
  • If you have acquired this disease, the best thing to do is rest at home and not cause further spread of the flu. Keep a good stock of hand sanitizers and disinfectants at home and work.
  • People who have compromised immunity such as pregnant women, the elderly, and children should get themselves vaccinated for swine flu.
Don'ts
  • Use mouth mask as the only way of protecting yourself from the disease.
  • Assume that the yearly flu vaccine will provide complete defense against the swine flu.
  • Share food, utensils, clothes, or bedding with an infected person. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from them.

 

 

 

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SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS liver
Hepatitis Profile A hepatitis profile or a hepatitis panel is a blood test that checks for markers of hepatitis infection…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
CERULOPLASMIN- triple marker
Triple Marker Test A triple marker test is an important prenatal test that is performed to detect the presence of chromosomal…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
10 reasons why you should up your selenium intake Selenium, though a trace mineral, is very much integral to your health. Find out how much selenium intake…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
biopsy procedure
Biopsy Biopsy is a procedure of studying a live tissue sample collected from a specific organ for diagnosing a…
hemoglobin variant analysis
Hemoglobin Variant Analysis Hemoglobin variant analysis is a blood test that is used to detect the presence of hemoglobin variants which…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
thyroxine t4 test
T4 (Thyroxine) Hormone Test The T4 or thyroxine blood test is an important diagnostic tool that gives a clear picture of how…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Exercises or diet? Find out the healthiest way to gain weight Tired of being called skinny all the time? Looking for healthy ways to beef up? Why not try…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Rheumatoid Arthritis xray
Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…

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