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What are the Effects of Swine Flu on Health?

The immediate effects of swine flu on health may be the most obvious. Swine flu causes a range of flu symptoms, including fever, chills, body aches, coughing, and sore throat. In some cases, a person with this illness also suffers headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting. Many people have only a minor form of this illness and recover without complications. In some cases, however, health effects of swine flu include the worsening of chronic health conditions, pneumonia, and failure of the respiratory system.

For the majority of people who develop swine flu, this respiratory infection is unpleasant but not life threatening. Most people with the condition develop symptoms that resemble those of other types of influenza. Fatigue, fever, chills, and headaches are common among those who develop swine flu. Many people also develop a sore throat, body aches, and coughing. Though not typical of most types of flu illnesses, some people also develop diarrhea and vomiting when they have swine flu.

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Typically, people who have the swine flu have symptoms for about eight days or less. Sometimes, however, a person may develop more serious effects of swine flu on health, and the infection lingers. For example, a person who has a chronic condition such as asthma or a heart disorder may notice that the symptoms of his condition worsen while he is ill with swine flu. Additionally, a person with a chronic condition may develop more severe swine flu symptoms and prove more prone to complications as well.

Unfortunately, swine flu can cause complications that can become life-threatening. For example, one of the serious health effects of swine flu is the development of pneumonia. This condition is marked by infection and inflammation of the lung tissue. Though it can be treated, there are cases in which pneumonia is fatal.

Respiratory failure is also one of the serious effects of swine flu on health. Respiratory failure occurs when the lungs cannot bring in enough oxygen to support a person's organs or cannot remove organ-damaging carbon dioxide from the body. This condition can be treated, but like pneumonia, may also prove fatal.

Since the most serious effects of swine flu on health don't affect the majority of those who contract it, treatment typically involves resting at home and caring for one's symptoms. Sometimes antiviral drugs are used to lessen symptoms as well. When a person has a severe case of swine flu or develops complications from it, however, hospitalization may be required.

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