Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Swine flu and its prevention

Swine influenza or  swine flu is known to be caused by influenza A subtypes H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2. In swine, they are circulating throughout the world. Swine flu is common in swine and rare in humans. People who work with swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at risk of catching swine influenza if the swine carry a strain able to infect humans. However, these strains rarely are able to pass from human to human. Rarely, Swine influenza virus mutates into a form able to pass easily from human to human. The strain responsible for the 2009 outbreak is believed to have undergone such a mutation.

In the humans, some symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza like illness in general such as fever, chills, sore throat, severe headache, coughing, muscle pain, and general discomfort.
Medical researchers in worldwide recognizing that the swine flu virus might again mutate into something, were carefully watching the latest 2009 outbreak of swine flu and making contingency plans for a possible global pandemic. The influenza virus is perhaps the trickiest known to medical science,  it constantly changes form to elude the protective antibodies that the body has developed in response to previous exposures to influenza or to influenza vaccines. Every two or three years the virus undergoes minor changes. Then, at intervals of roughly a decade, after the bulk of the world's population has developed some level of resistance to these minor changes, it undergoes a major shift that enables it to tear off on yet another pandemic sweep around the world. 

Some recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control.  This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public. Some experts say and agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infections, a surprisingly effective way to prevent all sorts of diseases, including ordinary influenza and the new swine flu virus.  Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of evidence shows little particles of virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transferred via the fingers to the mouth, nose or eyes.
The foam hand sanitizer and alcohol based gel can work well to destroy viruses and bacteria. Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as a sudden fever, cough or muscle aches should stay away from work or public transportation and should see a doctor to be tested. Another with Social distancing, It means staying away from other people who might be infected and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an infection is spreading in a community.

The US Control Disase Center (CDC) recommends the use of  Oseltamivir or Zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. If a person gets sick, some antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick.
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