The swine flu has wreaked havoc all across the world. It shares symptoms with the seasonal flu virus and also similar high risk groups. Since it is a new flu strain, how severe is it really?
The swine flu ranges from mild to severe. For most people who have contracted it so far, the symptoms have been mild on the severity scale. You still feel like the world just landed on you, but you do recover in five to seven days much like the seasonal flu virus.
As with the seasonal flu, you experience a variety of symptoms. There is sore throat, fever, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, cough and cold symptoms like runny nose. Taking over-the-counter drugs can reduce the symptoms. If your doctor does a rapid test and discovers that you have the swine flu, they may also issue a prescription or Tamiflu or Relenza, two antivirals that can help if your flu symptoms are still in the early stages (less than 48 hours).
High risk groups for the swine flu include children, people ages 24 to 54, infants, pregnant women, and those who are immunocompromised of any age. Contracting the swine flu in one of these groups can lead to a more severe form of the virus. More cells are infected by the virus which can lead to respiratory distress. Many cases of H1N1 have led to hospitalization and some fatalities but the majority of cases have not needed such care or ended so tragically.
Because the virus is new to humans, there is an advantage here. It affects the respiratory system. The virus doesn't usually penetrate deep enough within the lungs to do more widespread damage.
There are ways that you can tell if someone is having a more severe response to the swine flu. Once the fever breaks and you get better, symptoms can return in more severe cases. If this happens see a doctor right away. If you suspect the flu in children, do not give aspirin for their fever. This can lead to a condition called Reyeís syndrome.
Even though the swine flu has caused many to become sick, it still has not reached the numbers that the seasonal flu has. You are possibly more likely to catch the seasonal flu than the swine flu.
The only way to diagnose if you are suffering from influenza A is to have a swab taken. The samples can be sent off to an outside lab for testing. Many doctors are familiar enough with the swine flu now to know which one you may have. They can treat you accordingly to prevent any severe outcomes.
The swine flu has the potential to become severe just like the seasonal flu. Taking precautions such as vaccination and avoiding sick people can help. Follow all doctor's orders to get better as quickly as you can after diagnosis.
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