New Delhi: H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, has once again made headlines as new cases emerge in the country. Apart from Delhi, the H1N1 flu’s traces were also found in Rajasthan, Bengaluru and Meerut. As the swine flu spreads, it becomes imperative to know everything about it, including the causes, symptoms and prevention.
H1N1 is a subtype of influenza. The virus was first reported among humans in 2009, after which the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared this new strain as a pandemic.
Subtype of the Influenza A virus
H1N1 is a subtype of the influenza A virus that was the most common cause of the 2009 human influenza outbreak and is also associated with the 1918 outbreak which is known as the Spanish flu.
H1N1 strains were only behind a small percentage of all human flu infections in 2004–2005. Other strains of H1N1 are endemic in pigs (swine influenza) and in birds (avian influenza).
How can you be infected with H1N1 virus?
Like any other flu virus, the swine flu virus can spread through cough or sneeze. The flu shows its symptoms in 7 to 10 days.
Symptoms of swine flu
The symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu, including cough and fever, sore throat, runny nose, body pain, headache, chills and fatigue. Severe symptoms can include pneumonia, a lung infection, and other breathing problems.
H1N1 virus: How to prevent swine flu
There are two antiviral drugs that are widely recommended for treating swine flu – the oral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Patients are advised to visit a doctor before taking any medicine.