What is Swine flu (H1N1)?

Swine flu is considered as an ailment that typically affects pigs. The condition causes a respiratory condition and highly contagious but rarely deadly. It tends to circulate among pigs throughout the year but most common during the late fall and winter season, similar to the flu season among humans.

Can humans acquire swine flu?

In most cases, humans do not acquire the swine flu. It is important to note that the virus that affected people since the 2009-2010 pandemic appears to have mutated into a combination of swine, human and avian (bird) influenza. It has developed the capability to pass from human to human which is now known as the pandemic H1N1 influenza.

Swine flu

The signs and symptoms of H1N1 are strikingly similar to those of seasonal flu such as cough and sore throat.

Symptoms of H1N1

The signs and symptoms of H1N1 are strikingly similar to those of seasonal flu. If an individual is suspected with the H1N1, the following symptoms are likely to occur:

  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Occasional diarrhea and vomiting

Once the individual experiences any of these symptoms, a doctor should be consulted so that proper testing can be carried out to determine the type and suitable treatment.

What to do if sick?

In case an individual develops fever, sore throat or cough, it is vital to consult a doctor. The doctor can properly assess the condition and determine if the individual requires testing for influenza.

If the individual feels sick along with difficulty breathing, he/she should not hesitate to seek medical attention. It is advised not to go to work or school or even travel. Always wash hands regularly and cover the cough to minimize the spread of the condition.

Treatment for H1N1

Always bear in mind that the H1N1 flu is a virus that is similar to any other strain of flu but it does appear to respond to antiviral medications. These medications do not cure the condition, but work by shortening the duration, reducing the severity of the symptoms or helping avoid the condition if exposed

Availability of swine flu vaccine

There was an H1N1 vaccine manufactured and shipped to various locations in the U.S back in 2009. Due to the timing of the pandemic, it was not included in the seasonal flu vaccine for the 2009-2010 periods. Take note that it is a separate vaccine but created in the same manner. The vaccine has been tested extensively and proven to be safe and highly effective against the H1N1 swine flu virus. After the 2009-2010 pandemic, the pandemic strain of the H1N1 has been included in the seasonal flu vaccine.

Common misconceptions

Some believe that one can acquire the swine flu by eating pork. Remember that this is not true. One cannot acquire the swine flu after eating pork or any pork products. Swine flu is basically a respiratory virus and not carried in the meat. Pork that is properly cooked is safe to eat.


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