Swine Flu 101 - Definition, Symptoms, Treatments - Explained!

By 10:52

Ok, ok, so I know it's starting to get O.D., but let's be honest about honesty and realize that this swine flu epidemic is real.  

This is why I have asked my friend Rodrigo, who has been keeping up with all of this swine flu news to write a guest post on how to avoid it and to detect if you have swine flu symptoms - for those who haven't found it elsewhere or were just too lazy to read CNN and wanted something a little more Swine Flu 101 than anything... :-)

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Swine Flu - What is it? 

The swine flu's origin is found in pig farms, where the virus' genes come together and can affect pigs, birds, and even humans when in contact with it.  

Why is it called Swine Flu?

Duh.  Because it comes from pig farms and therefore, pigs, which are also known as swine. ;-) 

Can I get it if I eat pork? 

The ministries of health in a number of countries have alerted that there is NO risk to a person's health (besides the cholesterol, huh?) if he or she eats any kind of pork products.  

*poly sidenote: Not gonna lie, when I first heard about this flu, I was most worried about not being able to eat bacon.  You can imagine my relief when I heard this!   

How does one acquire the flu?

Through air (eep!) or through direct contact with secretions of infected persons.  Initially, it was transmitted from sick swine to humans in contact with them.    

Is there treatment for this? 

There are anti-viral medications available which help relieve symptoms, BUT they need to be taken at the latest, 48 hours after symptoms begin to occur. 

How to prevent swine flu?

There is no evidence that the vaccination against the current flu actually protects against the disease.  The preventative use of anti-virals is also not recommended, despite this having been a possibility in contingency plans for the influenza flu elaborated in 2005. 

i.e., - if you're in contact with any person or animal with the flu - there's a chance you might get it.

How do I know if I have swine flu?

A person should only be worried about the flu for now if in one of the countries in which the flu has been found to be present in the last 10 days which right now are: Mexico, United States, Canada, Spain, China, Austria, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom. (are we missing any?).

Symptoms include:

- a fever of over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees celsius)

- trouble breathing

- headaches

- muscular and/or joint pain 

What tests are done to detect the disease? 

A quick test is done to see if the person has the flu.  To know if the virus belongs to this new strain, genetic exams are needed and the results for these take a few days. 

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That's it! Swine Flu, Gripe SuinaA/H1N1, or whatever they're calling it in your country, explained. 

To those of you in countries with the flu... seriously. Careful. Please take every precaution possible - I really don't want to have to go up there.  

beijos and TAKE CARE!

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