Swine flu: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, home remedies and prevention

Swine flu is also known as pig influenza, swine influenza, pig flu and hog flu in different parts of the world. This medical condition is an infection caused by a filterable virus (H1N1) that is identical to a virus formerly isolated from infected swine.

Swine flu virus

Image in public domain; taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Image in public domain; taken from Wikimedia Commons. | Source

The medical condition got its name because, in the past, people who were affected had direct contact with pigs. However, that changed many years ago, when a virus emerged. This spread among people who had not been near pigs.

The WHO called swine flu a pandemic in 2009. This is because this medical condition was spreading fast worldwide. Since then, even though people are getting affected by the medical condition, the number has decreased substantially.

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Causes of swine flu

Swine flu is a contagious medical condition. When a person affected by swine flu coughs or sneezes, tiny drops containing the virus are released. A healthy person may inhale the virus and may be infected. Swine flu can also be spread by a healthy person touching a surface (like a wash basin or a doorknob) which was touched by the infected person recently.

Image in public domain; taken from Wikimedia Commons
Image in public domain; taken from Wikimedia Commons | Source

Summary

  • Swine flu is a contagious medical condition that can be cured if treated appropriately.
  • Cough, nasal secretion, fever, headache and fatigue are main symptoms of swine flu.
  • Oseltamivir and zanamivir are used to treat swine flu.
  • Garlic, basil and bryonia are some effective home remedies of swine flu.
  • Consumption of foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin C go a long way in preventing swine flu.

Symptoms of swine flu

The symptoms of this medical condition are similar to other flu infections. Cough, fatigue, nasal secretion, fever and headache are common symptoms of swine flue. Fever is 100 F or more.

Some individuals affected by swine flu have experienced diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Some have experienced severe respiratory symptoms. Ventilator and other respiratory support had to be used in some cases.

Patients affected by swine flu may get pneumonia (secondary infection - bacterial) if the viral infection persists. Some patients can develop seizures. Death is possible due to secondary bacterial infection of the lungs.

Lungs

Image in public domain, taken from Wikimedia Commons
Image in public domain, taken from Wikimedia Commons | Source

Diagnosis of swine flu

Swine flu is diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms. This medical condition manifests in most cases as a usual flu infection with similar symptoms. This may result in doctors confusing it with other viral conditions.

Blood test and chest X-rays are used to confirm diagnosis. Bacterial infections leading to flu-like features are ruled out with the help of a routine blood test. Chest X-rays and other imaging tests reveal pneumonia.

Nose or throat swab help the doctors determine if influenza type A or B is present. Specimen of the infected material is obtained from the individual’s nose or throat within the first four days of illness. The medical condition is most infectious around this period.

File licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
File licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license | Source

Treatments for swine flu

Treatment for this medical condition is usually supportive. It includes cough suppressants, increased fluid consumption, bed rest, analgesics and antipyretics. If the case is severe, doctors use intravenous hydration and other supportive measures. Antiviral agents may also be used.

Patients are encouraged to stay home and rest if they are ill. They are encouraged to avoid close contact with other people. They should wash their hands frequently. They are advised to avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes.

If swine flu is confirmed in a community, patients who develop flu like symptoms (fever with either sore throat or cough) should be advised to self-isolate in their home for seven days after the onset of the medical condition, or at least 24 hours after symptoms are cured; whichever is longer.

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license | Source

Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath should be treated as medical emergency and appropriate steps should be taken to handle the situation. If the patient has to move out of isolation, it is advisable to wear a face mask. This prevents the spread of virus due to sneezing, talking, breathing or coughing.

Even at home, the patient should wear a face mask when within six feet of others. If face masks are not available, the patient should use tissues to cover his/her mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.

Oseltamivir decreases the risk of pneumonia significantly, if properly prescribed. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for both pandemic and seasonal influenza. This medicine also reduces the need for hospitalization significantly.

Zanamivir may be prescribed in case oseltamivir is not available. This recommendation applies to all patient groups, including pregnant women and infants. The patient should receive treatment as soon as possible after the onset of the symptoms. There is not advisable to wait for results of lab tests. Initiation of antiviral agents within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms is imperative for effective treatment. The usual duration of treatment is 5 days.

Home remedies for swine flu

Garlic decreases the growth of virus in the body. It is the best preventive medicine for swine flu. Colloidal silver kills swine flu virus. Put one teaspoon bayberry bark, one teaspoon grated ginger root, half teaspoon cayenne powder in one cup of boiling water. Let it be for around 20 minutes. This tea is an excellent remedy for swine flu symptoms.

Bryonia is effective against cough, chest pain and throat pain. Mixture of two tablespoons of vinegar, one tablespoon of honey and one cup of warm water provides relief from many swine flu symptoms.

Garlic is an effective remedy for swine flu

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License | Source

How to prevent swine flu?

Do not greet people with kiss or handshake. Avoid sharing food, glasses, plates, forks and spoons. Keep the house ventilated. Disinfect kitchen countertops and bathrooms with bleach. It is very important to wash hands with plenty of soap and water.

Disinfect any contact surface like doorknob, toys and phones with alcohol. Avoid sudden change of temperature. Consume fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. paprika, red pepper, cayenne, chili powder, sweet potato, carrot, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, collards and other dark leafy greens, butternut squash, dried parsley, dried basil, dried marjoram, dill, oregano and other dried herbs, lettuce, dried apricots and cantaloupe are rich in vitamin A.

Spinach is rich in vitamin A

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. | Source

Red hot chili peppers, green hot chili peppers, guava, bell peppers, fresh thyme, parsley and other fresh herbs, kale, mustard greens, garden cress and other dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruits (Chinese gooseberries), papaya, orange, clementines and strawberries are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and increases the number of disease preventing WBC in the blood.

Oranges are rich in vitamin C

Image in public domain
Image in public domain | Source

Consume five basil (tulsi) leaves in the morning. It keeps throat and lungs clear and healthy, and also strengthens the immune system. Take a foot long branch of Giloi (Tinospora cordifolia). Add five to six leaves of basil and boil in water for around 15 minutes. Add black pepper and sendha, black salt and misri. Let it cool and consume this mixture when it is warm. It boosts the immune system.

It is advisable to consume one small tablet of camphor once a month, but it should not be less frequent than that. Consume hot water and turmeric every night, when there is a threat of swine flu infection. Aloe vera gel, if consumed with water daily, strengthens the immune system. Exercising regularly keeps the lungs and throat healthy.

Foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin C

Foods rich in vitamin A
Foods rich in vitamin C
Fortified cereals, orange fruits (like cantaloupe, apricot, peaches, papaya and mango) and darkly colored orange or green vegetables (like carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin and kale)
Citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, guava and kiwi
 
 
Diet rich in vitamin A and vitamin C prevents swine flu effectively.

Basil leaves keep throat and lungs clear

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. | Source
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license | Source

A great mystic of India says that people pray when there is misery. If they prayed when they were well, misery would not occur. It is always advisable to pray and lead a simple and natural existence. Such people have strong immunity naturally.

Awareness is the key in dealing with swine flu successfully. The above-mentioned information will help you achieve this endeavor. It is advisable to spread this awareness to as many people as possible worldwide. This would go a long way in keeping our world protected against this medical condition.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license | Source

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