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Swine Flu

aka H1N1 flu

The swine flu has been seen worldwide (pandemic) and is actually a flu virus with strains of human flu, avian flu, and swine flu in it’s DNA.

Symptoms – Symptoms of swine flu are similar to regular flu symptoms and can include fever, sore throat, cough, headache & body aches, chills, and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting have also been associated with swine flu. Since these symptoms are shared by a number of different conditions, a lab test is required to positively identify swine flu.

Cause – The cause of swine flu is the H1N1 virus and it is spread just like any other flu virus through contact. A person with swine flu is typically contagious from the day before their symptoms begin to a full week following the onset of symptoms.

Diagnosis – A lab test is the only sure way to know if you have swine flu as opposed to a typical influenza virus. If your symptoms are not severe your doctor may elect to treat you for a milder form of flu without any testing. This is one reason why it is difficult to know just how many cases of swine flu are seen each year.

Treatment – Swine flu does respond to antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza. Most people do not require treatment and will recover just as if they had the regular flu but there are risk groups. Pregnant women, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, and the elderly are most at risk for serious flu side-effects. If symptoms seem more severe than a mild flu or vomiting/diarrhea are occuring, prompt medical attention should be sought.