HOW SWINE FLU WORKS
THE LONGEST LIST OF THE LONGEST
STUFF AT THE LONGEST DOMAIN NAME AT LONG LAST
How does swine flu work?
The H1N1 virus, or as its still commonly known – the
swine flu, carries many misconceptions and myths surrounding it. Still, the
virus is deadly and the risk it also possesses are nothing to calmly overlook.
It’s true that the swine flu can be fatal to many, yet thousands of people are
infected with it every year with little to no serious consequence. And while
some think that prevention measures should be no more than what you would
practice in regular hygiene, others feel as though face masks are necessary to
protect against contracting the swine flu. So, what is the swine flu really? How
does it work, and is it really as deadly as it’s claimed to be?
Swine flu has most recently come to light in 2009,
when a small outbreak was found in Mexico. But swine flu had been around much
longer than that and in fact in 1976 there was an outbreak in the United States.
While it’s helpful to know that there has been an outbreak of the flu before in
the world and didn’t wipe out populations, it’s also this outbreak that has
caused much confusion. People who remember the 1976 outbreak remember things
such as the vaccine that was mandated throughout the country, with the only real
result being the paralysis of many people, and no actual outbreak of the flu.
However, one can’t only look towards the flu of 1976 and the more current
strains of the flu. This is because, as with all other types of flu, the H1N1
virus develops and becomes different strains of the flu over time. This means
that the information that may have pertained to the swine flu outbreak of 1976
would not necessarily apply for a swine flu outbreak today.
And there are also several outbreaks of other types
of flu that should be considered. The Spanish flu in 1918 for instance, was
first attributed to swine as well but it would soon found that birds were
actually the link to the flu. The Spanish flu also decimated entire populations,
with over 50 million people dying from that flu. Looking at this particular
pandemic, it’s also easy to see why the swine flu is something that needs to be
taken seriously. And while panic is never recommended, it is wise to be aware of
the facts of what swine flu is, and what it isn’t.
One of the ways that swine flu does differ from
other types of flu, and one of the thing that makes it so frightening, is the
fact that it can be deadly for young and healthy people as well as elderly
individuals. Typically with flu, people tend not to worry so much if they are
not older or if they do not have very small children. But because swine flu
really can strike anyone at any time, it does make it a flu worth looking into.
The Symptoms and Diagnosis of Swine Flu
There are a few things that make swine flu particularly
difficult to identify when compared with other types of flu. One of those things
is that swine flu generally looks like other flu. Symptoms usually include
things body aches, headaches, sore throat, cough, fever, congestion in the nose
and chest, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, and other stomach problems, just to
name a few.
It’s thought that we can’t actually be certain how
many people have and will typically suffer from the swine flu. This is because
the symptoms do so closely resemble other types of flu and that in itself makes
it difficult to detect. Also, most people who contract the swine flu will
experience symptoms for a week to ten days and then recover with no real
incident. Because of this, they don’t see it necessary to report their illness
or to get it diagnosed. And because clinics and hospitals are already overloaded
with cases each year since the 2009 outbreak, there are long waits to see a
doctor and often then, they can’t even diagnose you.
This is because, of all the many laboratories in the world, there are actually
only a small number that can identify a sample of swine flu as being different
than a seasonal flu. Because there are so few laboratories, they are quickly
becoming overwhelmed with samples and are limiting the number. Due to the high
volume, the laboratories that can detect swine flu are generally only accepting
people who are in high risk categories, or those who are experiencing what could
be complications of the swine flu.
One of the highest risk groups of people for the
swine flu is pregnant women. One reason is because pregnant women already have
weakened immune systems and so, are more susceptible to picking up any illness.
But another more serious risk of the swine flu to pregnant women is the
respiratory attack that ensues with this particular strain of flu. And as a
woman gets farther along in her pregnancy, her lung capacity is already
diminished due to the growing baby inside of her. This compromised breathing
becomes a much larger problem when something as nasty as the swine flu virus is
introduced. If a pregnant woman should think that she’s contracted the H1N1
virus, it’s important that she seek treatment immediately. There are many
medications that are safe for pregnant women and can be prescribed to help in
the treatment of the H1N1 virus.
It’s true that clinics and hospitals are full with
patients who might be afflicted with swine flu. And while some who are sick may
not even feel as though it’s necessary to visit a doctor, there are some things
to be on the lookout for. Swine flu can turn very dangerous very quickly, so if
you find that you are suffering from general flu-like symptoms and they turn
suddenly, it is then time to see a doctor. Having sudden and severe difficulty
breathing and/or experiencing a sharp abdominal pain or extreme vomiting are
indications that you may need to someone about your illness. Neurological issues
also become present, although this most happens in children. Symptoms such as
seizures, dizziness, or confusion are also all indications that you should see a
doctor about your sickness.
Treatment of the Swine Flu
There are many common cold and flu medicines that
are available over the counter and will help ease the symptoms of swine flu.
However taking one of the prescription medications such as Tamiflu or Relenza,
is a much more effective choice. These medications can help shorten the lifespan
of the virus in the body by 48 hours and they can also lessen the symptoms of
the swine flu. However, as the swine flu continues to grow and expand around the
world, it’s not known how long or how many of these drugs will be available.
Because of this, it’s thought that soon, it may only be high risk groups and
emergency cases that are given the prescription medication for the flu. Usually
these include military people and their families, as well as children that are
under the age of 5. It’s also important to understand that a vaccine from the
seasonal flu will not protect against the swine flu.
What might be a more effective, and more
accessible, treatment of the swine flu is the vaccination. It’s been said that
the swine flu vaccine which was developed after the 2009 outbreak, can be 70 to
90 percent effective in protecting against the contraction of the swine flu. The
vaccine is recommended to people of all age groups, but pregnant women should
speak to their doctor before taking the vaccine. Another prevention tactic
against the swine flu is to essentially quarantine an ill person to one room of
the house if possible. One person should also be designated as their caretaker,
while the others in the house, especially those that are in high risk groups,
remain protected and do not spread the virus throughout the rest of the house.
Many people wear household masks both in and out of
the house during an outbreak of the swine flu. Masks are good protection against
the flu. However it’s important that those wearing them remember to wear
surgical masks as opposed to dust masks because surgical masks fit tightly to
the face and will not allow any germs in. Being extremely vigilant about washing
your hands and disinfecting surfaces regularly is crucial when there’s a case of
swine flu in the home to prevent it from being passed to another member of the
It’s most important to remember that the swine flu is extremely contagious.
Because of this, even if people aren’t concerned about their own safety during
flu season, it’s important to take other people’s health into consideration.
This is why health officials recommend staying at home when you are sick and
practicing simple courtesies such as covering your mouth and nose with your
elbow when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often. Those with strong
immune systems and no pre-existing conditions or complications probably will not
suffer greatly if they contract the flu. But those who are in high risk groups
or experiencing other medical concerns can be greatly affected. And because no
one knows whether or not the swine flu will become a global epidemic or whether
it will simply fizzle out over time, it’s even more important to always maintain
a balance between caution, complacency, and panic.