All That You Need to Know About H1N1

The recent news of H1N1 or Swine Flu caused panic and uproar of sorts, but that is why you need to know the facts. For instance, did you know? The first pandemic of H1N1 was way back in 2009, in Mexico. It is a respiratory disease and is contagious. It lasts from 3-7 days and serious illness may take up to 9 days to recover. As in the cases of most contagious diseases, the best way forward is prevention. We hope the information you get here helps you prevent or cope with this disease.

What is Swine Flu?

As the name suggests, the virus that infects the respiratory tract of pigs has the same symptoms as a virus in human flu. The pigs that survive, the sickness lasts up to two weeks. People who are closely associated with pigs, for example, pig rearers, vets or pork food processors may come in contact with this virus and develop the swine flu infection through the same virus. Similarly, when humans with flu come in contact with pigs, the pigs can get infected too.

What Causes it?

Swine flu or H1N1 is contagious, so that means that simple acts of coughing or sneezing will send the virus flying into the air, and if ingested or inhaled, you can be infected. Therefore, one thing must be clear here that you will never attract the virus by eating cooked pork. If you touch an infected surface and then eat or touch your eyes and nose, then chances of spreading the virus from saliva and mucus are much higher.

Risk Factors for Swine Flu

From the little outbreaks prevalent since 2009 and the recent one in India, it is seen that H1N1 is most common with children ages 5 years and up. However, you can be at a higher risk of contracting this disease if you were:

  • A senior, over the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children under 5 years
  • Teenagers under 19 years regularly taking aspirin therapy
  • Weak immune system
  • Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease.

Symptoms of H1N1

If you or your loved one ever had the flu, then the symptoms of H1N1 are much the same. Since it is the respiratory tract that is infected, you will have trouble breathing because of the stuffy nose, coughing, chills, and fever. There can be nausea and vomiting, sore throat, body ache, fatigue, and diarrhea too. It is so exhausting that you will have to rest for two weeks to recover.

Warning Signs

If you are a person with a weak immunity or who easily gets sick, then you may worry, that’s understandable. The symptoms let you know this is a terrible disease however, most patients recover with no problems. The high-risk individuals though are likely to have a worse outcome. The complications may look like a severe case of pneumonia or bronchitis including sinus and ear infections.

Prevention Tips

H1N1 is contagious and so, the easiest way to prevent getting infected by the virus is to keep yourself away from an outbreak in your community. Whether it is school, work or any public gathering, stay at home before you get a vaccination for it. If you find yourself surrounded by people affected by the virus, make sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap.

Avoid touching your face, nose or eyes with unwashed hands. If you feel you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, rush to your doctor for a diagnosis and take prescribed medicines. It’s best to stay at home and rest if you contract the illness. Use disposable tissues or sneeze into your shoulders to prevent others from being infected.

Home Remedies to Prevent H1N1

  • Increase daily intake of citrus fruits, such as amla.
  • Eat at least five tulsi leaves daily in the morning to boost immunity.
  • Drink warm milk mixed with a pinch of turmeric at nights.
  • Swallow two pods of raw garlic, on empty stomach in the morning with warm water.
  • Regular Pranayam can help you keep your throat and lungs healthy.

The best way to ease your symptoms of swine flu is to remain hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids such as warm water, soup or juices. You need to rest as much as possible. Last, stay informed with local community news to learn about new vaccine availability and other relevant information about H1N1.

Simple Steps for Prevention and Care from Viral Flu

It’s Monsoon – the season for colourful umbrellas and waterproof jackets. It’s the season for trekking, picnics, and hot cuppa ginger tea. It’s the season of cloud-laden sky when the greenery returns to the garden and there is a respite from the scorching heat of the summer.

But the monsoon season is a mixed blessing. It also brings with it some health ailments like cold, cough, sore throat, allergies, and stomach problems. One of the common problems affecting people during this season is the viral flu. Every year, millions of people fall prey to the wrath of the terrible flu, also popularly termed as Influenza. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5% to 20% of the population in the United States is affected by the flu each year and as many as 2,00,000 people need to be hospitalized every year for flu-related complications. There are a lot of cases where the effect of the flu becomes severe and increases the risk of diseases such as malaria and dengue. Very severe cases of flu, malaria or dengue can also prove to be fatal.

The numbers just go to say that you must not take cases of cold, cough and fever lightly. The condition might seem ordinary at first but the chances of it turning into a severe case of a serious disease are also high. And as goes the popular saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Small practices such as eating healthy and working on ways to increase your immunity can make a lot of difference to your lifestyle and avoid quite a few health-related hassles in the future. Here are some basic measures you can take:

  • Avoid close contact with anybody who is sick. Germs and bacteria carrying the flu are extremely contagious and can spread majorly through inhalation of air. Keep your distance from people when you are sick to avoid spreading the virus.
  • When you are sick, stay at home as much as you can and stay warm. Being in a public place makes it very difficult to isolate yourself from people and keep them away from the infection. Staying at home will also provide you with the best comfort and rest so that your body can recover quickly. By resting, you will help your body in fighting the infection.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue paper or handkerchief when you are sick and need to sneeze. This will prevent the germs from spreading all around you.
  • Wash your hands as often as possible and keep them clean. For those of us who are out in the open most of the time and end up making contact with a lot of dirty and unhygienic items, washing hands with a good soap will help you get rid of the bacteria. In case of unavailability of soap, use a sanitizer or any alcohol-based rub.
  • Practice healthy eating habits. Eat foods that will provide you with enough vitamins, proteins and minerals, and will help build up your immunity. Drink a lot of water. Fluids help in detoxifying your body. Fluids also help thin mucus so that it’s is expelled easily.
  • Try home remedies like drinking a cup of ginger tea, having honey in tea with lemon, adding garlic supplement to your diet, and gargling with salt water.
  • Get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce illnesses, doctors’ visits and days of missing work to a large extent as well as avoid cases of hospitalization. It is recommended that everyone who is six months or older must get a flu vaccine.

Flu symptoms include cold, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body ache, chills, and fatigue. In severe cases, the patient may even suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. Check for these symptoms and visit a doctor to get prescribed medicines and start the treatment. Absolutely avoid self medication.

Changes in weather conditions is a phenomenon that occurs naturally and nobody can stop the adverse effects it causes to our body. Taking good care of ourselves, eating right and leading a balanced lifestyle is what will help us in staying fit and healthy in the long run.