What are the Common Signs of Swine Flu?

The signs of swine flu are quite similar to the regular flu. Most of the time, signs of swine flu include chills, high fever and body aches. Some people also have symptoms similar to head cold and sore throat. Vomiting and diarrhea are two signs of swine flu usually not present in other strains of influenza. Like other types of flu, swine flu can have serious life-threatening consequences.

Swine flu is spread from one person to another through coughing and touch. The virus typically enters the nose or mouth by breathing it in through the air or hand-to-mouth transference. Once a person becomes infected with the virus, the first symptoms usually do not appear until about four days have passed. The first symptoms are typically coughing and runny nose. Within hours of first showing signs of swine flu, the infected person begins suffering from fever and body aches.

A few things can be done to protect against contracting influenza. Most of the time, the virus enters the nostrils or mouth, so wearing a surgical face mask may offer some protection. Also, when shopping in supermarkets or handling items that may have been touched by several people, it may be a good idea to wipe these things down with antibacterial solution. During flu season, many grocers and retail outlets offer disposable wipes to their customers as they enter the stores. People who work in offices where they must share work tools such as keyboards and telephones should exercise the same caution.

Early testing of the flu virus that causes swine flu led researchers to determine that it was similar to a virus found in pigs from North America, which is how the strain came to be called "swine" flu. Further study, however, revealed that the virus was a mixture of viral genes that can be found in European and Asian pigs. Swine flu also has viral genes from birds and humans. This complex makeup of genetic material is one of the reasons it has been so difficult for medical science to develop a vaccine to combat the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that swine flu had reached pandemic levels in 2009, but fell to post-pandemic levels the next year. A pandemic is an epidemic that has worldwide consequences. The previous flu pandemic occurred in 1918 and is believed to have led to the deaths of more than 49 million people. The influenza that caused the 1918 pandemic was called the "Spanish flu."


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