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Swine flu Treatment, Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis in India

Technically, the term "swine flu" refers to influenza in pigs. Occasionally, pigs transmit influenza viruses to people, mainly to hog farmers and veterinarians. Less often, someone infected passes the infection to others.

The human respiratory infection caused by a particular influenza virus H1N1 strain — popularly known as swine flu — was first recognized in spring 2009. A few months after the first swine flu cases were reported, rates of confirmed H1N1-related illness were increasing in much of the world. As a result, the World Health Organization declared the infection a global pandemic.

The pandemic was declared over in August 2010. Currently, H1N1 is still circulating in humans as a seasonal flu virus and is included in the seasonal flu vaccine.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Swine flu signs and symptoms in humans are similar to those of other flu strains:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Swine flu symptoms develop about one to three days after you're exposed to the virus and continue for about seven days.

When to see a doctor

It's not necessary to see a doctor if you're generally healthy and develop flu signs and symptoms, such as fever, cough and body aches. Call your doctor, however, if you have flu symptoms and you're pregnant or you have a chronic disease, such as emphysema or a heart condition.

Influenza viruses infect the cells lining your nose, throat and lungs. The virus enters your body when you inhale contaminated droplets or transfer live virus from a contaminated surface to your eyes, nose or mouth.

You can't catch swine flu from eating pork.

If you've traveled to an area where many people are affected by swine flu (H1N1 flu), you may have been exposed to the virus, particularly if you spent time in large crowds.

Swine farmers and veterinarians have the highest risk of true swine flu because of their exposure to pigs.

Influenza complications include:

  • Worsening of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Neurological signs and symptoms, ranging from confusion to seizures
  • Respiratory failure

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccination for all people older than 6 months of age. An H1N1 virus is one component of the seasonal flu shot for 2013-2014. The flu shot also protects against two or three other influenza viruses that are expected to be the most common during the 2013-2014 flu season.

The vaccine will be available as an injection or a nasal spray. The nasal spray is approved for use in healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

These measures also help prevent swine flu (H1N1 flu) and limit its spread:

  • Stay home if you're sick. If you do have swine flu (H1N1 flu), you can give it to others starting about 24 hours before you develop symptoms and ending about seven days later.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Use soap and water, or if they're unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Flu viruses can survive for two hours or longer on surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops.
  • Contain your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow.
  • Avoid contact. Stay away from crowds if possible. And if you're at high risk of complications from the flu — for example, you're younger than 5 or you're 65 or older, you're pregnant, or you have a chronic medical condition such as asthma — consider avoiding swine barns at seasonal fairs and elsewhere.
  • Reduce exposure within your household. If a member of your household has swine flu, designate only one household member to be responsible for the ill person's personal care.
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