The swine flu is the well-known name for flu caused by a relatively few strains of the influenza virus. This virus was responsible for the pandemic in the previous years, specifically in 2009.
Close look on the swine flu pandemic
The virus was initially identified back in 2009 in Mexico and was named the Mexican flu. The name became swine flu since the virus strikingly resembled the viruses that trigger illness among pigs.
The virus can rapidly spread from country to country since it is a new form of flu virus that only few are immune to. The pandemic was considered relatively mild and not as severe as predicted. On the other hand, a small number of cases led to serious illness and even death. These were mostly in high-risk groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, young children or those who have preexisting health conditions such as cancer.
The swine flu virus mixes worldwide as one of the 3 seasonal flu viruses. The other viruses are the influenza virus B and influenza virus A/H3N2. The symptoms of the swine flu virus are strikingly similar to other types such as the following:
- Abrupt fever with temperature of 38 degrees C or higher
- Runny or blocked nose
- Joint pain or aching muscles
Many individuals who acquire the swine flu virus can recover within a week even without special treatment. Nevertheless, some face a higher risk for complications and advised to get the seasonal flu shot.
When to consult a doctor
For those who are healthy, there is no need to consult a doctor if the flu-like symptoms manifest. A doctor must be consulted if the individual is included in the high-risk groups that are likely to end up with complications such as the following:
- Pregnant women
- Children below 2 years old
- Those over 65 years old
- Adults and children with underlying health conditions
- Children and adults who have weakened immune systems
The seasonal flu shot is given for those at risk and administered as a yearly injection to children from 6 months up to 2 years who are at risk for flu and adults over 18 years old as well as those over 65 years old.
Management of swine flu
The ideal remedy for swine flu is to rest at home, stay warm and drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Ibuprofen or paracetamol can be given to reduce the fever as well as relieve the aches.
In case further treatment is needed or complications develop, medications are available to manage the swine flu such as the following:
- Antiviral medications can relieve the symptoms and minimize the risk for serious complications
- Antibiotics are used to deal with bacterial infections such as pneumonia that is considered as a complication of flu.