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Do I Have the Swine Flu?

All About the Swine Flu

Over the last year, swine flu, or H1N1, has received a lot of press. Though it can be a particularly strong strain of the flu virus, it is important to remember that it is just that: the flu virus. In most cases, this flu is nothing to get too alarmed about. It is, however, important to take precautions to avoid catching any flu, including getting the flu vaccine.

This year’s regular flu vaccine will not protect you from the Swine Flu, but there is a special vaccine for this strain. Anyone who has a compromised immune system, as well as young children and the elderly, may particularly need to get a flu vaccine.

The Swine Flu has received so much attention because it is a new strain of flu virus. This is important simply because the fact that it’s new means that our population has little immunity from it, so it spreads more easily from person to person.

To prevent the spread of swine flu, and other viruses, there are some precautions that all of us should take. The first is to stay home when you’re sick. This helps avoid the spread of viruses. Secondly, cover your sneezes and coughs. And, finally, wash your hands frequently. When you’re not able to wash your hands, hand sanitizers are a good substitute, so long as they are alcohol based.

Symptoms of the swine flu are not that different than the symptoms of other flu viruses. They include:

  • fever, which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes absent;
  • runny nose or stuffy nose;
  • sore throat;
  • body aches;
  • headache;
  • chills;
  • fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme;
  • diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu.

More serious cases of the swine flu can include a respiratory infection or pneumonia. If you have a bad cold coupled with extreme fatigue and body aches; it’s often wise to assume that it’s the flu and visit your doctor. There are flu medications that, when taken early enough after onset, can shorten the duration of both the swine flu and seasonal flu.

Flu complications are the most likely in the elderly, the very young, and those with medical problems. These people should be vaccinated, and should seek treatment early. Nearly all of the deaths that have occurred from this year’s swine flu outbreak have been among those who already suffered from ill health.

If you’re healthy but interact with the public, a vaccine might still be a wise idea; just to ensure you stay well this flu season. The swine flu has not had nearly the impact that was predicted. However, this is likely because most of the population heeded the warnings, got their vaccinations and looked for signs of illness.

It’s likely that this strain of flu may be here to stay. But, as we develop immunity to it through outbreaks and vaccinations, it should no longer be something for which we have so much concern.

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Do I Have the Swine Flu? + virus