Is Swine Flu Life Threatening?

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What is Swine flu?

Swine flu is actually a respiratory disease that is caused by viruses, which infect the respiratory tract of pigs and consequently, cause nasal secretions, decreased appetite, a barking like cough and restless behavior. The pigs that last can retain swine flue for one to two weeks. Virus of swine influenza first isolated from pigs in the U.S in 1930.People mainly develop swine flu due to their interaction with pigs.

Swine-flu-Sci-2003

Symptoms of Swine flu:

The symptoms are similar are similar to those that cause influenza infections, which are as follows:

  • Nasal secretions
  • Cough
  • Fever may be 100 deg F or higher
  • Fatigue which is a most common symptom
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia if viral infection persists
  • Seizures

Death occurs from a secondary bacterial infection of lungs and use of appropriate antibiotics is indispensable.

Diagnosis

Presumably, swine flu is diagnosed from the symptoms described above and patient’s history if there is any association with people having swine flu symptoms. A quick test in this regard is by taking a nasopharyngeal swab sample to see if a patient is suffering from the influenza virus A or B.Tests can distinguish the virus A or B.Tests may be positive or negative for A or B viruses. If the test came out to be positive for type B the flu will not likely to be swine flu. If the test is positive for type A virus the patient will be suffering from swine flu or conventional flu strain. Swine flu is diagnosed by identifying those antigens that are particularly associated with the virus type. Available treatment for swine flu.

The best available treatment for infections like influenza in humans is vaccination and this vaccine consists of live attenuated H1N1 virus, which cannot be used by a pregnant woman or a person who is immunocompromised.

Two antiviral agents have been noticed that help, prevent or eradicate swine flu infections. They are Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) both of which prevent and eliminate both A and B influenza. These drugs should not be used indiscriminately because there can be a development of viral resistance to them.

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