What is useful to know about the swine flu? Should we worry? Here we try to understand better what it is.
What Is Swine Flu And How Is It Different From Normal Flu
Seasonal flu is caused by viruses that have adapted to spread and survive in humans. Likewise, our bodies have developed a certain degree of natural immunity to the most common strains, strengthened in frail patients through the annual vaccine.
When an individual becomes infected with both human and animal flu viruses, modified viruses can develop that can be transmitted from human to human, so natural immunity is often not enough. With the risk of a pandemic developing.
A Swine Flu Pandemic Already Happened A Few Years Ago
The first pandemic of the 21st century was not that of Covid. In 2009, a new influenza type A / H1N1 virus, later called A (H1N1) pdm09, known simply as swine flu, began to spread from Mexico.
The subtype had never before been detected in either animals or humans. It is hypothesized that it originated from triple resorption between influenza viruses from pigs, birds, and humans, combined further with Eurasian pig influenza.
The 2009 flu pandemic affected mainly children and young people in good health, disproportionately to the rest of the population, possibly due to low vaccination coverage. It is estimated that in one year there have been between 100,000 and 400,000 deaths caused by this virus.
After 13 years, the virus is now circulating in an endemic way. Over time, other influenza viruses that derive, in part or completely, from pigs have been detected. The positivity to these pathogens should not cause particular concern, but the symptoms should not be underestimated.
What Are The Symptoms Of Swine Flu And Who Risks The Most
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of the common flu:
- Sore throat.
- Stuffy nose.
- He retched.
In general, they develop one to four days after exposure to the virus and can last up to a week, resolving on their own and with the help of over-the-counter drugs. However, there can also be serious complications :
- Respiratory failure.
- Worsening of chronic ailments, such as heart and lung disease and diabetes.
- Spontaneous abortion or premature birth.
Young children, people with kidney or liver disease, or who have compromised immune systems due to therapies or diseases, such as AIDS, are at high risk.
The rapid worsening is sometimes seen even in young and healthy individuals. In spite of the name, those who eat pork are no longer at risk, which is absolutely not a vehicle of contagion, and it should be emphasized.
How Is Swine Flu Treated And Prevented
To heal, rest and proper hydration are prescribed. Medicines are given to relieve symptoms, such as acetaminophen for fever. In severe cases, antiviral drugs and antibiotics can be used in case of secondary bacterial infection.
The flu vaccine is effective in preventing swine flu and type A / H1N1 in general. It is recommended for frail and elderly subjects.
The indications to prevent infection, as we have also learned thanks to Covid, are correct hygiene and frequent hand washing, ventilation of the rooms, distancing in case of symptoms, and proper nutrition.
In short, there is no alarm for the swine flu and there are no grounds for thinking that there are risks for the population. However, paying attention to the symptoms is good, and consult a doctor when they persist after a few days without improvement, avoiding do-it-yourself therapies.