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What is the Treatment for Swine Flu?

Discover swine flu treatment methods: vaccines, antivirals like Tamiflu, natural remedies, and preventive measures for this contagious disease.

  • 06 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic made us realise the havoc wreaked by zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases find their way from animals to humans. H1N1 virus, a subtype of influenza A virus, is known to cause swine flu. Pigs were the first to host it. The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of the regular flu, such as cough, cold, body ache and chills. It is highly contagious and affects the respiratory system of the host. Therefore, it is pertinent to seek timely swine flu treatment.

Treatment of Swine Flu

The swine flu outbreak in 2009 hastened the efforts of the medical community to seek a cure for this disease. Mass production of vaccines helped curb the spread of infection. A study that assessed the efficiency of vaccines discovered that vaccination prevented approximately 61% of hospitalisations. Vaccines are preventive, but if one is already affected by the flu, the following treatment options yield positive results:

  • In the case of a mild infection, having enough rest, maintaining proper fluid intake and taking antipyretics are sufficient. Antihistamines provide relief for nasal congestion and rhinitis. Children should refrain from consumption of aspirin as it increases the risk of Reye Syndrome.
  • The doctor may prescribe neuraminidase inhibitors (NAI) to treat the symptoms of swine flu. NAIs block the spread of viruses from infected cells in the respiratory tract. These medications include oseltamivir phosphate/Tamiflu, Zanamivir, Peramivir/Rapivab and Baloxavir. In some cases, oseltamivir is resistant, but the other two drugs are efficient if used in frequent doses. The possible side effects include sporadic skin allergies.
  • In severe situations where swine flu pushes the patient to the verge of respiratory tract failure, doctors perform extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). In ECMO, a heart-lung machine removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygenated blood back to the body. It helps provide relief to the heart and lungs. Supportive measures such as intravenous hydration correct the electrolyte imbalance. Critical patients need mechanical ventilation to address acute respiratory distress.
  • Ayurvedic treatment can also aid in the swine flu treatment process. Basil leaves, or tulsi, have therapeutic properties that help maintain a clear throat and lungs. It also strengthens immunity. The constituents of Tinospora cordifolia, commonly known as giloy, have been reported to have antimicrobial and antitoxic properties. Giloy also helps in immunomodulation. Once or twice a month, a tablet-sized dose of camphor or Kapoor should be administered. Adults can consume it with water. Children can take it along with mashed potatoes or bananas. Two pods of garlic with lukewarm water in the morning help build immunity. 

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Considering the contagious nature of swine flu, prevention is the best cure. Since it spreads via cough or sneeze from the infected person, we should frequently wash our hands with alcohol-based sanitisers or soap. Regularly disinfect the surrounding space with a diluted bleach solution. People dealing with swine should use face masks to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. A health insurance to cover the loss of loved ones in pandemics comes in handy in negative eventualities.

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