Even with all the advances in medicine and technology today, there are still some diseases which cannot be effectively treated by modern medicines. One disease which has taken the world by surprise is the swine flu or H1N1 virus, which basically is a combination of three viruses – swine, human and bird influenza viruses.
What is Swine Flu?
The Swine flu virus mainly affects pigs (swine) and brings about a highly contagious respiratory sickness. It spreads amongst pigs for most of the year, but mainly in winter and late fall. This is sometime during the human flu season.
Why are people contracting the H1N1 virus?
Medically speaking, humans cannot get swine flu because it is an illness that only infects pigs or swine. But the illness that people commonly refer to as ‘swine flu’ and which has been affecting people all over the world since 2009 is a combination of human, swine and bird (avian) influenza. Today, this disease is known as the pandemic H1N1 influenza.
What are the common symptoms of swine flu?
The symptoms of this H1N1 virus are quite similar to that of human flu and include cough, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, headaches, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, chills, lack of appetite and fever (temperature higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 37.8 degrees Celsius).
What can you do to protect yourself from swine flu?
- Make sure you stay healthy: Exercise regularly, eat lots of nutritious food like fruits and vegetables, decrease your stress levels, sleep well and drink lots and lots of water and fresh fruit juices.
- Wash your hands when you go indoors: As soon as you reach your home or your place of work or any other destination, go straight to a wash basin and wash your hands carefully with soap.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you at all times: If you cannot wash your hands frequently, at least make use of hand sanitizer regularly to ensure that germs do not enter into your body. Always use a sanitizer before you partake of any meal, even if you are eating with a spoon and fork.
- Maintain good hygiene: If you cough or sneeze, try to contain it in your handkerchief or tissue and make sure you wear a flu mask.
- Don’t share utensils or drink from other people’s glasses: This is how germs spread from person to person and it should be especially avoided if there are many cases of swine flu occurring in the immediate area.
- Do not touch your nose, eyes and mouth: In crowded public areas or even if you’ve just been outdoors, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth until you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap.
- Make sure your produce is clean: Always wash your fruits and vegetables before using them for cooking or consuming them. Try and buy organically grown produce.
- Stay home: If you notice that you have one or two of the many swine flu symptoms, do not go into work or to your place of education. Do not travel in crowded areas, because you may unintentionally spread your germs around.
- Visit your doctor and get vaccinated: As soon as you notice a symptom of swine flu, go straight to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you avail of vaccines like Relenza or Tamiflu within 36 hours from contracting the disease, you can halt the progress of the swine flu or H1N1 virus.
These are just some simple precautionary steps that you can take to protect yourself from swine flu or limit the spread of it.