Authored by Veronika Fevers in Diseases
Published on 05-22-2009
As the pandemic that is swine flu has recently risen into double digit fatalities, it leaves many individuals with questions. It is only through understanding the causes and symptoms of swine flu, that we can best protect ourselves and our families from it.
Despite the connotations associated with the name, swine flu can not be contracted by eating pork products. Swine flu is however, airborne and can be contracted similarly to the standard influenza virus. Prevention of the swine flu includes proper and frequent hand washing, and disinfection of frequently used items that can become contaminated.
As suggested by the CDC, waterless hand sanitizer is an effective method of killing germs when hand washing is not an option. One can become infected with the swine flu through simply touching something that has been previously contaminated by an infected individual. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to the influenza virus and can take several days to present themselves.
Now that you understand the causes of the swine flu, I will go over the symptoms associated with it. Symptoms of the swine flu are stereotypical of regular influenza and include sore throat, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, body aches, and fever. The symptoms of swine flu present themselves just like any other flu variation making it hard to distinguish. In fact, the symptoms of swine flu resemble those of a regular flu so closely that only a lab test can distinguish a case of swine flu.
Although the symptoms of swine flu are easily treated with the anti-viral medication Tamiflu, many can overcome the virus without it. As with any other flu virus, individuals that are in a higher risk of fatality include those with compromised immune functionality. Individuals that fall into this category should be seen immediately after the symptoms present themselves. Also, any individuals experiencing symptoms of swine flu should remain home, away from public exposure so as to prevent spreading the virus.
Symptoms of swine flu that require immediate medical attention include:
- Shortness of breath
- Lethargy or unresponsiveness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Change in skin color to blue or gray
- Persistent vomiting
While the symptoms of swine flu are fairly generalized, if you suspect that you have contracted the virus contact a medical professional. Your physician can take samples to be sent into the CDC and they will then be verified as swine flu, if you have in fact contracted the virus.
With swine flu having reached national emergency status, education is your best defense. Understanding the causes as well as the symptoms of swine flu will allow you to protect you and your loved ones as best as possible. Again, the symptoms of swine flu are very similar to those of the regular flu virus making it hard to differentiate between the two. If you feel that you have come in contact with the swine flu, take caution by informing others to keep their distance. If symptoms of swine flu persist, have a medical professional test you. This will benefit both you and the people around you.