Swine flu

What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a viral infection caused by the H1N1 strain of influenza virus that can spread from person to person. In 2009, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an epidemic of this strain of the flu virus in Mexico, the United States and other countries, including Bulgaria. 19 cases of this type of viral infection have been confirmed here, with 11 deaths.

Those infected with swine flu feel run down, have aches all over their body, their throat is red and sore, they have a fever and they have a cough. In most cases, the disease is not serious. But in certain people, especially young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, the viral infection can be severe and lead to pneumonia, lung failure and death.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are very similar to those of the regular seasonal flu, most commonly:

  • Fever or chills;
  • Cough;
  • Sore throat;
  • Body aches;
  • Headache;
  • Unusual rapid fatigue;

Certain groups of people are prone to developing complications from swine flu:

  • Pregnant women – the developing fetus is also at risk of damage if the mother contracts this virus. If measures are not taken in time, if the pregnancy is in an earlier stage, the woman may have a miscarriage.
  • Chronic patients such as diabetics and asthmatics;
  • People with weakened immune system or those taking medicines that suppress the immune system eg people with autoimmune diseases or those who have recently had an organ transplant.
  • People who have serious heart or kidney disease or diseases that affect the nervous system or muscles .
  • People under 25 years of age;

The time between exposure to the H1N1 virus and initial symptoms is usually about 2 days, but can be between 1 and 7 days. Those infected are contagious the day before symptoms appear and can infect others up to 12 days after becoming ill. But most people are contagious for about 6 days.

What are the causes?

Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus. At first, experts thought the virus spread from pigs to humans. But it was later found that the viral infection was caused by a new virus.

This new virus is a combination of part of the human influenza virus type A, part of several – 2 or 3 strains of the swine influenza virus and the bird virus. Once a person is infected, they can spread the infection to other people by coughing or sneezing.

When sneezing and coughing, secretions from the salivary glands, the respiratory tract or the nose are released into the air. These secretions contain the virus, and if a healthy person inhales them, he becomes infected. Infection can occur by touching a surface with the flu virus on it, such as a desk, and then touching your mouth or nose.

You cannot get the flu from eating pork.

Swine flu treatment

If you get sick:

  • Talk to your doctor:

– If you are not among the risk groups where complications most often occur and you do not suffer from a serious illness, the doctor may recommend home treatment.

– If you are at high risk or are very sick, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine such as oseltamivir and zanamivir, which will help you feel better for a short time and prevent complications. The sooner you start taking the medicine, the better it will work.

– Take vacation or sick days.

Drink plenty of fluids as your body loses a lot of water due to the increased temperature.

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