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All You Need To Know About Swine Flu

When the entire world was celebrating New Year 2015, swine flu was gearing up for its second innings in India. This viral disease never completely left the country since its arrival in 2009-10 and has been taking a significant toll on the Indian populace this year.

  • 20 Feb 2015
  • 2 min read

India is better equipped to battle swine flu this time as it has a stronger arsenal at its disposal. A descending winter, say experts, would be favorable to curb its spread. Besides, our country's Central and State Health Departments have been conducting multiple public awareness campaigns to educate the masses about swine flu.

In order to avoid contracting swine flu you need to stay aware of its symptoms, follow basic guidelines and be proactive. Read further to understand the disease and ways to tackle it.

What Is Swine Flu?

Just as we are affected by flu, animals are also susceptible to it. A respiratory disease that originated from pigs and got transmitted to humans in their close proximity is called as swine flu. As the human immune system is not built to tackle the flu affecting pigs, we find it difficult to cope up with swine flu when exposed to it.

A contagious illness, swine flu spreads rapidly if we inhale or intake virus droplets. People suffering from swine flu may cough or sneeze without any cover, inadvertently letting out airborne droplets containing germs.

Who Are Vulnerable To Swine Flu?

Infants, toddlers, young kids, adults above 60 years of age, people suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, pregnant women, and those that have a weak immune system are likely to get affected by this virus.

What Are The Symptoms Of Swine Flu?

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to that of a normal flu. These include:
- Nasal secretions
- Fever and cough
- Headache and fatigue
- Sore throat
- Nausea
- Vomiting and diarrhea

How Is Swine Flu Diagnosed?

If flu-like symptoms persist over a longer period than usual, it is suggested to undergo a check-up for swine flu. The disease is diagnosed by conducting a test called as a Polymerase Chain Reaction technique. It generally involves a procedure called as 'pronasopharyngeal swab'. This procedure is conducted to collect fluid samples from your nose, throat or mouth, which is then sent for testing.

How Is Swine Flu Treated?

Swine flu can be treated completely if it is diagnosed at an early stage. Two antiviral medicines, Tamiflu and Relenza are administered to stop the flu from spreading. You can opt for a vaccination or nasal spray depending upon your requirement, after consulting the doctor. Health insurance can cover the costs associated with the treatment and medications for swine flu. Swine flu can be treated completely if it is diagnosed at an early stage. Two antiviral medicines, Tamiflu and Relenza are administered to stop the flu from spreading. You can opt for a vaccination or nasal spray depending upon your requirement, after consulting the doctor.

Top Precautionary Measures
to Avoid Swine Flu:

Washing Hands

Swine Flu can be avoided by following simple measures like washing hands with soap on a regular basis. Keeping a hand sanitizer handy might prove extremely productive. Also, make sure to keep your surroundings clean.

Wearing a Mask

Wearing a mask may seem unfashionable but they score brownie points when it comes to saving lives. As the swine flu virus is airborne (carried through the air), wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth while travelling can protect you from inhaling infected air.

Avoiding Crowded Places

Try your best to avoid crowded places. Social functions involving large gatherings can be skipped. Be cautious while using public transportation and public utility services. While greeting people, sticking to a traditional Namaste and avoiding the formal handshake can be adopted.

Also read:

Strengthening Your Immune System

People with a weak immune system are highly likely to contract swine flu. Thus, one must concentrate on strengthening one's immune system. You can start by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Basic tips to achieve that could include improving eating habits, consuming green leafy vegetables and fruits, getting enough sleep, living stress-free and avoiding alcohol and smoking.

Basic Home-based Precautionary Measures:

  1. Medicinal holy basil or tulsi leaves on a mortar with pestleTulsi leaves are renowned for their medicinal properties. Consuming these each morning helps to keep the throat and lungs clear.

    2.Brew a concoction of giloi, tulsi, black pepper, black salt and crystallized sugar. A glass of this can work wonders for your immune system, if consumed on a daily basis.

    3. Gulping a small tablet-sized camphor once a month, eating citrus rich fruits and drinking amla juice are other healthy habits that need to be inculcated in your dietary regime.

It is extremely important to create awareness about this influenza in order to help people battle it. If you or your near and dear ones are suffering from swine flu, there is absolutely no need to panic. Swine flu is curable and its treatment is available and affordable. Simply follow the precautionary measures according to the intensity of the disease in your vicinity. Ensure you eat right, sleep right and live right to stay away from the swine flu.

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