Swine Flu !
The word is giving nightmares to many people and organizations around the world. What is it all about? Do we need to really panic so much about it or just understand it better and follow simple steps to keep it away from us?
Swine Influenza is also called as H1N1 flu, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu. It is caused by Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) which is any of the strains of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs.
Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human influenza, often resulting only in the production of antibodies (factors against the disease causing factor) in the blood. If transmission does cause human influenza, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection. The meat of an infected animal poses no risk of infection when properly cooked.
Spread: The virus can spread to humans from pigs if they have intense exposure (zoonotic transmission). Transmission from humans having virulent virus in the system is common mode.
The virus spreads from the infected person through secretions from the nose and air tube/s when the person sneezes or coughs without covering the mouth /nose. The virus can also spread by touching articles contaminated by such secretion from the patient. An infected person is capable of spreading the virus from the 2nd to 7th (or 10th day in children) day of getting the disease.
Disease manifestation: Once the virus enters the body, it attacks lungs and hence respiratory problems appear. Then it multiplies in the blood. Lowers immunity. If there is already a compromised immune level, then it is an appropriate situation for it to grow. Then it results in generalized symptoms of fever, pains and aches etc.
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle and joint pain / aches
In children: Cyanosis (bluish and cold skin) , no food and liquids consumption, dehydration-wrinkled abdominal skin, body rashes / bleeding under the skin, repeated fever, unconciousness or unresponsiveness.
In adults: Severe respiratory distress, severe pain in flanks and abdomen, severe dizziness, blackout, continuous vomiting and diarrhoea.
What the patient should do?
- Stay away from work / school and be isolated at home for a minimum of 7 days to avoid spreading the disease. A great help to mankind !
- Cover the mouth and nose everytime you sneeze, cough or talk.
- Avoid close contact with anyone.
- Have hot (warm) water and liquids as often as possible
- Wear warm clothing
- Have a quick warm water shower to freshen up
- Sterilize (dispose where possible) all the articles used by you.
- Most importantly, contact the doctor and follow the advice.
- Have warm, fresh and light food.
- Have lot of vitamin C rich fruits – to boost immune system
- Fresh lemon juice in warm water for drinking – to develop immune system
- Warm vegetable soups with pepper and ginger powder – helps to perspire and relieve temperature
- Soak and chew dry grapes (raisins ) to facilitate easy bowel movements
- Warm pepper clear soup helps to combat the infection effectively
- Lot of vegetables in food (cooked properly) will help to improve the inner defense force.
- Avoid contact with infected animals and humans
- Wear protective masks in crowded places
- Wash you hands frequently
- Do not use your hand for eating etc without proper washing
- Do not touch your mouth, nose etc with hands without washing
- Take proper anti intestinal worms medication (consult your doctor) – this helps in boosting the immune system
- Consume fresh and lots of fruits and vegetables
- Proper exercise regimen helps in promoting the immunity
- A good sleep and relaxation is important to keep your body strong
- A soup / decoction of pepper, ginger, turmeric, long pepper, stonebreaker (Phyllanthus niruri), heartleaf moonseed (Tinospora cordifolia) etc help in preventing the infection by enhancing the immune defense.
- Warm salt water gargling 2-3 times a day
- A strong mind adds up to the body’s defense system. So develop your will-power.
- An Ayurvedic way of life and eating can enhance the immunity very well. (Please consult an expert in your area. It is a vast topic to cover in this article).
No need to Panic:
- The virus is strong in cold climate only. In hot atmosphere/ climate, it loses its outer covering and loses its capacity to cause disease even before entering the lungs. Hence, it will not be there for ever.
- Proper preventive measures will avoid you from getting sick
- Timely and professional medical attention will CURE YOU from the disease.
- It is ONE MORE FLU like any other flu, but needs timely care that’s all.
“I wish you a healthy and peaceful life ahead”