What is Influenza?
Influenza is a virus that consists of a number of strains. Although flu viruses are primarily of three types – A, B & C, the ones causing illnesses are type A and B. About 20 percent of world population are affected by Influenza Subtype A and B. The flu symptoms caused by subtype C are much less adverse in nature as compared to the others. The category A subtype is further broken down into subtypes H and N. The H subtype has a further of 16 sub-types and, N, a total of nine.
H1N1 is one of the subtypes of H and N that is instrumental in causing diseases amongst people. The other two types are H2N2 and H3N2. H1N1 is commonly known as swine flu. The term was coined from the belief that people who handled pigs were susceptible to the illness. But in later years the perception changed when it was observed that the flu was caught by even those who weren’t even anywhere near pigs.
Seasonal changes make people vulnerable to this flu with the virus moving freely in the air. This disease is highly contagious and people suffering from H1N1 are advised to stay indoors to prevent other people from catching the flu. The commonly seen symptoms associated with swine flu or H1N1 are cough, body aches or stiffness, chills & fever, tiredness and a runny nose.
The Treatments Involved:
To detect if a person has swine flu or not, certain tests such as a nasopharyngeal swab test is conducted by the doctor. If your results prove to be positive then a basic treatment is initiated which involves prescribing antiviral drugs such as Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza) within 48 hours of detection. For patients who do not show the desired results from taking the antiviral drugs through the mouth, an IV therapy is prescribed (especially in paediatric cases).
Some people have been seen to suffer certain adverse reactions such as skin allergies, hallucinations, diarrhoea, etc on receiving treatment.
They Say Prevention is Better Than Cure:
In order to prevent swine flu from affecting you, opt for swine flu vaccination. It is advised for anyone who is over 6 months to take a shot of the vaccination. The vaccination can be availed as either an injection or a spray (nasal). However, the spray is ill-advised for people who are younger than 2 and older than 50.
One very pertinent home remedy that you can follow to prevent a swine flu infection is washing your hands (basically keeping yourself squeaky clean!) as many times as possible. If you are already suffering from swine flu then protect your friends and loved ones by staying indoors (and in your room), cover your mouth when you cough or sneezing (not doing so releases the virus into the air). Avoid physical contact with those who are affected.
The only way to take care of yourself in case of a swine flu infection is by getting lots of rest, taking your medications on time, staying hydrated all round the clock and maintaining distance from people who are affected or who may become affected by you. Stay well and keep your loved ones well too!