H1N1 / Swine Flu – What you need to know!
Most of us must be reading news articles about H1N1 Swine Flu spreading again in different parts of the country. Swine Flu has previously left terror and panic amongst people and it is therefore important to be well prepared, this time around.
Understanding H1N1, the disease, the symptoms and how it spreads would help be well informed and better prepared.
What is H1N1 or Swine Flu?
Swine Flu is a respiratory disease caused by the influenza group of viruses. Swine Flu is contagious, which means it spreads from one person to another.
Symptoms of Swine Flu mimic common flu and persist for about one to two weeks but if not diagnosed and treated timely, may lead to life threatening consequences.
Symptoms of H1N1 – Symptoms are like common flu and include –
- Sore throat
- Running or stuffy nose
- Watery red eyes
- Generalized aches and pains
- Loose stools
- Nausea and vomiting
How does H1N1 spread?
H1N1 is highly contagious and spreads from person to person by droplet infection i.e., when an infected person coughs or sneezes without covering his nose and mouth, touching an object or surface infected with these droplets and touching your nose/mouth.
How to differentiate between H1N1 and common flu?
Though symptoms are similar, there are certain factors that differentiate H1N1 and common flu.
- Symptoms appear quickly
- Includes fever and aching muscles
- Makes you too unwell and hampers your daily routine
COMMON FLU –
- Symptoms appear gradually
- Affects only nose and throat
- Doesn’t make you too sick and people are able to carry on with day to day activities.
When to consult a doctor?
You don’t have to consult your doctor if you are generally well and just have flu symptoms. However don’t delay in consulting your doctor if you have flu symptoms not reducing with regular medicines, flu symptoms are prevailing and you have other health conditions or you are pregnant.
Tips to handle H1N1 –
- Stay at home and take rest till you completely recover
- Wash your hands with soap and water after you sneeze
- Drink plenty of water or fluids
- Cover when you sneeze/cough – so that you don’t infect others and don’t infect yourselves
- Consider paracetamol and don’t self medicate with other medicines
Swine flu or H1N1 is preventable with simple measures and now vaccines are also available to offer protection.
When in doubt, always consult a doctor and visit your nearest medical center to get vaccinated today.