H1N1 Flu

What is the swine flu?

H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu. It's called swine flu because in the past, the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease caused by viruses. That changed several years ago, when a new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn't been near pigs.

How is swine flu transmitted?

Swine flu is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from people sneezing or coughing.

Swine flu is not transmitted by eating cooked pork products.

Symptoms and signs of swine flu

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to most influenza infections

  • Fever
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Body aches
  • Chills

The incubation period from exposure to first symptoms is about one to four days, with an average of two days. The symptoms last about one to two weeks and can last longer if the person has a severe infection.

Like the regular flu, swine flu can lead to more serious problems including pneumonia, a lung infection, and other breathing problems. And it can make an illness like diabetes or asthma worse. If you have symptoms like shortness of breath, severe vomiting, pain in your belly or sides, dizziness, or confusion, take immediate medical actions.

Diagnosing swine flu

Swine flu manifests in most people as a usual flu infection with similar symptoms and thus may be confused with other viral illnesses. So Diagnosis may be made based on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

  • Routine blood tests : Viral infections usually do not cause many changes in the routine blood picture.
  • Chest X-ray : Chest X rays and other imaging tests are suggested in individuals at risk of complications like pneumonia.
  • Nose or throat swab : To test for swine flu a nose or throat swab is taken. Within 15 minutes the laboratory may tell if influenza type A or B is present.


Most cases of flu, including H1N1 flu, require only symptom relief. Treatment is largely supportive and consists of bedrest, increased fluid consumption, cough suppressants, and antipyretics and analgesics (eg, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for fever and myalgias. Severe cases may require intravenous hydration and other supportive measures. Antiviral agents may also be considered for treatment or prophylaxis.

The same flu vaccine that protects against seasonal flu also protects against the H1N1 swine flu strain. You can get it as a shot or as a nasal spray.


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