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Swine flu, also known as H1N1 flu, is a respiratory disease caused by the Influenza A virus that was first identified in pigs, however the presence of a variant in humans has been verified. This virus can easily be transmitted through droplets of saliva and respiratory secretions that are suspended in the air after an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Swine flu symptoms usually appear 3 to 5 days after contact with the virus and are similar to the common flu, with fever, general malaise and headache. However, in some cases, the infection can also result in serious complications, such as difficulty breathing, requiring hospitalization.
Swine flu symptoms usually appear 3 to 5 days after contact with the virus, with the development of signs and symptoms such as:
- Body pain;
- Loss of appetite;
- Persistent cough;
- Shortness of breath;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Sore throat;
In some cases, the person may also develop severe respiratory complications within a few days of the onset of symptoms, which can result in respiratory failure. In this case, it may be necessary to breathe with the help of devices, in addition to an increased risk of secondary bacterial infections, with a greater risk of sepsis, which can put the person's life at risk.
How the transmission happens
Swine flu is transmitted through droplets of saliva and respiratory secretions that are suspended in the air when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. In addition, this virus is able to remain on surfaces for up to 8 hours and, therefore, it is possible that the disease is also transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces.
Swine flu can also be transmitted through direct contact with infected pigs, however transmission does not occur when meat from these pigs is consumed, because the virus is inactivated and eliminated when exposed to high temperatures.
How the treatment is done
If there are any suspicious signs and symptoms of swine flu, it is important to go to the hospital so that tests can be carried out that allow the diagnosis of the disease, so that the most appropriate treatment can be started. Treatment is usually done with the person in isolation, to prevent transmission of the virus to another person, and involves rest, fluid intake and the use of some antivirals.
In more severe cases, mechanical ventilation may also be necessary to avoid respiratory failure and, in these cases, the use of antibiotics may also be indicated to prevent secondary bacterial infections, which can further complicate the state of person's he alth.
It is important that measures are taken to help prevent infection and the transmission of diseases, and it is recommended to avoid sharing personal items, avoid staying for a long time in a closed environment or with little air circulation in which there are several people, avoid contact with people with suspected swine flu, cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and perform hand hygiene regularly.