Though the swine flu typically infects only swine, in some cases it can be spread from pigs to humans. An epidemic of swine flu occurred in 2009 among humans around the world. Symptoms of swine flu in humans are very similar to symptoms of the other types of the flu, or influenza, virus. Symptoms of swine flu typically last about one week and usually appear several days after a person is exposed to the virus. Common symptoms of swine flu include a fever, cough, and sore throat. A person with swine flu will usually also experience a headache and body aches. Other symptoms include fatigue and chills.
It is difficult to tell the symptoms of swine flu from the symptoms of another type of influenza virus. Usually a test is needed to determine if a person's symptoms are caused by swine flu or another virus. Since most people recover from swine flu as they would from another strain of the virus, testing is usually not done unless the patient falls into a high risk group.
Pregnant women, older people, and people with chronic diseases such as asthma or diabetes are at an increased risk for complications from swine flu and should be tested if they have any symptoms of swine flu. Swine flu can cause chronic conditions to be become worse. It can also lead to pneumonia or respiratory problems in high-risk groups.
Usually a healthy person who begins displaying symptoms of swine flu should avoid other people until after the symptoms go away. An ill person should wash her hands regularly and use a tissue to cover her mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. A person who falls into a risk group should contact her doctor after symptoms appear. To avoid infecting others, she should call her doctor to ask for advice before heading to the office.
In some cases, swine flu can cause neurological symptoms in young children. Some children may have seizures as a result of swine flu or may experience changes in behavior. They may seem confused or disoriented. It's important that a child with mental changes and symptoms of swine flu see a doctor immediately.
Other concerning symptoms that may accompany swine flu in children include extreme irritability or lethargy, trouble breathing, and blueish skin. In some instances, a child's symptoms may clear up only to return in a few days worse than they were initially. These symptoms are signs of an emergency, and the child should be taken to the hospital.