Swine flu, also known as H1N1 flu, is a type of influenza virus that usually spread among pigs but in recent years has spread to humans as well. The flu is spread in much the same way as seasonal influenza. The virus spreads when the person infected with virus coughs or sneezes, releasing the virus into the air. Coming into direct contact with the infected person or any surface they have come into contact with is the only way to get infected yourself.
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to seasonal influenza. These include:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Body aches
Swine flu also has the potential to cause worse illnesses such as pneumonia and may cause complications for those suffering from diabetes or asthma. A test conducted by a doctor is the only way to accurately diagnose swine flu. However, in most cases, a test is not required as a healthy body is capable of fighting the virus on its own. Only pregnant women, children below the age of 5, and people above the age of 65 are at particular risk from being infected with swine flu and should get tested as soon as symptoms are detected.
The treatment for swine flu is similar to the treatment for seasonal influenza. Drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir, and zanamivir are effective against swine flu. Other over-the-counter drugs for body pains can also be taken to alleviate the symptoms.
Regular vaccination against all forms of flu viruses is also recommended as it introduces the antibodies required to deal with the flu-causing viruses such as that of swine flu.
Washing hands regularly and reducing contact with the eyes and mouth are essential precautions to take to prevent the spread of swine flu. At the same time, avoiding those who are sick is another good precaution to take. Using infrared thermometers such as BPL Accudigit infrared thermometers allow monitoring of fever in a contact-less manner, thus reducing contact with those who are sick with swine flu.