Sunday, 6 May 2012

Swine Flu

(H1N1 Influenza)

Swine flu is an influenza type A virus that has been identified as the H1N1 strain that normally can only be transmitted from pigs to human. The swine flu outbreak of 2009 is a genetic combination of avian, swine and human flu. This strain can be passed from human to human. The severity of this disease varies widely, ranging from fever and cough to pneumonia and death.

Fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, diarrhea, vomiting. The fever in influenza tends to be higher (> 101 F or 38.3 C) than in other viral illnesses such as the common cold (URI). The muscle aches and fatigue tend to be more severe as well.

The strain of swine flu seen in 2009 is sensitive to the anitviral medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Treatment should be started within 40 hours of symptoms to be most effective. Patients with swine flu should avoid contact with other people to prevent the spread. The fever and other symptoms can be reduced by taking ibuprofen (Motrin) and or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

A chest x-ray may be performed to determine if a lung infection exists (pneumonia).