Swine Flu Virus 101

by th0ughts on April 28, 2009

While the Swine Flu virus outbreak is currently under concern and is strictly monitored all over the world, if you happen to met anyone one who doesn’t know what’s this all about, then this is something worth sharing. I’m going to make it a lot simpler so that it would be easier to grasp.

Swine influenza also known as swine flu refers to influenza caused by any virus (belonging to the family Orthomyxoviridae) that is endemic to pig (swine) populations.

Strains endemic in swine are called swine influenza virus (SIV). People who work within the poultry and swine industries, especially those with intense exposures, are at high risk of infection from these animals if the animals carry a strain that is also able to infect humans. Once the SIV mutates into a form that allows it to pass from human to human, then its not impossible for it to be pandemic.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A few more patients than usual have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.

The virus can spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth. Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food according to some misconceptions.

“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”, as medical practitioners always advise, simply apply the standard personal precautions against influenza.

1. Frequent hand washing with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public.

2. Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with your hands unless you’ve washed it.

3. Stay away from coughing people, or if you do cough, cover your mouth with a tissue and dispose it off properly then wash your hands right away.

4. Avoid handshaking as much as possible but if you can’t, better make sure you washed your hands before and after each contact.

5. Refrain from kissing(casual or friendly) if you can just for the time being. It pays to be safe.

Influenza pandemic can be traced back in 1919 known as the Spanish influenza estimated as being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people. This scenario is something that the world is working on to prevent from happening. Again, the best defense that we have is prevention and awareness. So why not spread the word? Be in the know and start helping everyone.

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