After the sad news that a 3 year old child recently died from a suspected case of swine flu, and as officials confirm that three others are infected, what exactly is Swine Flu?
|If in doubt, telephone your GP for advice|
A relatively new strain of the influenza virus, Swine Flu (or H1N1) is highly contagious.
The H1N1 form of this virus is one of the descendants of the strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic.
Swine Flu is a respiratory disease that infects the respiratory tract of pigs and results in a barking cough, decreased appetite, nasal secretions, and listless behavior.
It is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing the virus from people sneezing or coughing; it is not transmitted by eating cooked pork products.
The disease is contagious about one day before symptoms develop to about five to seven days after symptoms develop. Some patients may be contagious for a longer time span.
Its symptoms are similar to regular flu and include:-
– lack of appetite
– sore throat.
People infected with the swine flu often complain about the problems with stomach, headaches and even toothache.
In some cases, human swine flu is asymptomatic, which means the infected person feels fine and has no symptoms.
Although most people recover in a week without treatment, it is dangerous for children under two, pregnant women and those over 65.
A potentially life-threatening complication of human swine flu is pneumonia (a type of lung infection).
Those who do die from swine flu often have some underlying medical condition, like asthma or diabetes.
Sufferers are advised to keep warm and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Some antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, appear to be effective against the human swine influenza H1N1 strain.
Tamiflu is a prescription medicine used to treat the flu in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days.
Tamiflu is not a substitute for an annual flu vaccination.
It is not known whether Tamiflu is harmful to an unborn baby.
You can find more information on the NHS website.