Swine Flu: Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment and Prevention


Swine Flu is a type of virus that mainly infects pigs and causes a respiratory disease Swine Influenza. It normally doesn’t infect human race but Type A influenza is seen to infect human race from the past few years. It is a contagious infection i.e. it can pass from person to person. H1N1 type A influenza is a zonotic disease which was originally transferred to humans from pigs and now infects human race.

Risk Factors:

Swine flu basically transmits through the medium of water droplets present in the atmosphere. If you are don’t maintain your hygiene at public places, for example, not wearing a mask in crowded places, you are at a risk of catching the virus. People with high levels of immunity are safe from swine flu. Only old age people or people with lower levels of immunity are at a higher risk of swine flu.

These people include:

• Infants or Young Children
• Pregnant women
• People suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes or liver problem
• People with weak heart condition
• Individuals having respiratory diseases like Pneumonia
• People more than 65 years of age

These risk groups have been identified on the basis of observation and don’t imply that you may necessarily catch a virus if you fall in any of the categories.


Swine flu is a respiratory disease which is basically caused by the swine Influenza virus(SIV). The plague of this disease was caused by its subtype H1N1 or Type 1 influenza virus. It is termed as H1N1 because the virus comprises of two antigens that attack the respiratory system of human body namely, hemagglutinin 1 and neuraminidase 1.

The incubation period for swine flu is 1-4 days. The contagious period for swine flu begins one day before the symptoms start to show and continue until 5-6 days after the person falls sick. Persons with the weakened immune system or people suffering from chronic diseases may have prolonged contagious period of about 10 to 14 days.


• High fever that doesn’t comes down after antibiotics.
• Difficulty in breathing or pain in chest while breathing
• Shortness of breath after a short period of time.
• Patients may Pneumonia if infection persists for a long term.
• Sputum in a cough or blood in a cough
• In infants: Irritability, vomiting, not accepting feeds, seizures.


Once a patient is diagnosing of Swine Flu Influenza virus, it is recommended that treatment must be initiated at once.

According to National Institute of Communicable Diseases, swine flu can be treated properly, if diagnosed at an early stage.

The two basic medicines or drugs for fighting with swine flu are oseltamivir (Tamiflu/Fluvir) and zanamivir (Relenza). The drugs work by inhibiting the ability of the virus to release progeny virus particles into the blood.


It is neuraminidase inhibitor available as a capsule or for oral suspension for the treatment of acute influenza in patients 1 year and older who have been symptomatic of swine flu for no more than 2 days.


It is also a neuraminidase inhibitor which is available for oral suspension only and is recommended for the treatment of influenza in patients 7 years of age and older who shows positive signs of Swine Flu Influenza H1 virus.

It is highly advised not to take these drugs on own, instead, you must consult a doctor for a proper prescription.


Just by practicing basic hygiene, anyone can prevent H1N1 influenza infection. Well, here are some tips to prevent swine flu:

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after coughing or sneezing.
• Make sure to use a tissue or hanky while sneezing or coughing. Throw the used tissue in tissue and dispose of.
• During the summers or monsoon season, wear a proper surgical mask in crowded places.
• Avoid using unhygienic places or resting public restrooms.
• Since it is a contagious disease, avoid contact with sick people.
• If you develop flu-like symptom takes rest and drink lots of warm water as it has the capability to wash off the virus from the pipe into the stomach where they cannot survive.

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