Swine Flu Symptoms, Risk factors and Complications

ID-100148831Swine flu, technically refers to flu in pigs. However, since spring of 2009, when it was first identified, it is known as swine flu. The disease is like common flu, however it can be occasionally transmitted from pigs to humans, such as farmers and veterinarians. Since August 2010, WHO has declared swine flu a pandemic disease and it is still causing large number of deaths every year.

Swine flu appears during particular season, like any other flu and spread it the same manner as other flu spread. The strain of swine flu is H1N1 (H for glycoprotein hemeagglutinin and N for glycoprotein neuraminidase), which is included along with other flu viruses in seasonal flu vaccine. Swine flu affects respiratory system.

Symptoms of swine flu:

Signs and symptoms of swine flu are similar to other types of flu and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough, sneeze, sore throat, runny nose, blocked nose
  • Headache, generalized body ache
  • Generalized weakness, loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • May be diarrhea, nausea and vomiting

The symptoms of swine flu develops few days (two to three days) after getting exposed to the virus and may continue for about a week. If left untreated, swine flu may be fatal, unlike most other common seasonal flu.

Are you at risk of swine flu?

We all are at risk of getting swine flu infection. However, if you travel to a region where large number of cases of swine flu is reported. You are at greater risk if you spend more time in crowded areas. If swine flu spreads to your locality, that you are at high risk of getting swine flu. Farmers dealing with pigs and veterinarians are also at greater risk of swine flu.

What are the complications of swine flu?

Swine flu is potentially fatal, if left untreated. When patient think he/she got common seasonal flu and ignore the disease, the risk of developing complication is high and which may ultimately lead to fatal outcome. Complications of swine flu include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Worsening of existing diseases such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes etc.
  • Neurological complications which may range from confusion to seizure

However, if prompt treatment is instituted, most of these complications do not appear and patient recover well, without complications. Hence, one should not fear swine flu because of reports of large number of deaths. When you develop any symptoms of flu, promptly report to hospital and get treated.

Image courtesy of [artur84] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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