What is swine flu?
Swine flu is a new strain of influenza virus causing illness in human beings. The virus was named 2009 H1N1 and was first identified in Mexico in March 2009 and, similar to the common seasonal flu most people develop, this virus has managed to reach the four corners of the world jumping from one human host to another. In June 2009 the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic of the 2009 H1N1 virus.
Why was it termed swine flu?
2009 H1N1 was initially considered to be similar to the influenza virus causing infections in pigs throughout the North American territory. Further research identified the virus to have a more complex genetic structure formed of a combination of influenza viruses typical to pigs, birds and human beings.
Are there cases of 2009 H1N1 virus in Turkey and is it contagious?
As with most other countries in the world the 2009 H1N1 virus has been seen in turkey as well. The infection is contagious and passes from human being to human being.
How is the virus transmitted?
2009 H1N1 uses the same method as common seasonal flu for transmission. The virus is transmitted from sneezing and coughing. The virus can infect humans by contact to contaminated surfaces and objects. The virus enters the body from contact between contaminated hands and mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the symptoms and findings of 2009 H1N1?
Symptoms: Fever, sore throat, coughing, runny and blocked nose, body pains, headaches, shivering and general weakness. A significant number of infected patients have expressed complaints of nausea and diarrhoea.
What is the severity of the 2009 H1N1 infection?
2009 H1N1 can cause very indiscreet infections however it also has proven to have the potential of resulting in severe or even deadly infectious problems. Whilst seasonal flu presents a greater deal of problems the 2009 H1N1 virus has been determined to affect some special groups much more severely. These groups are: children under the age of four, pregnant and puerperal women, obese individuals as well as infants and adults with chronic health problems such as diabetes, cancer and kidney deficiency. Most of adults older than 60 years old have a certain degree of immunity to the 2009 H1N1 virus because of infections developed in previous years.
For how long can patients transmit the virus?
Individuals falling ill to 2009 H1N1 are capable of transmitting the virus as of one day before developing the symptoms. This period of transmission lasts for 5 to 7 days. Children and individuals with weaker immune systems can sustain transmitting the virus for longer periods of time.
How can I protect myself from the 2009 H1N1 virus?
Following some simple rules will not only protect you but also your loved ones and even the society.
1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
3.Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can spread this way.
4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
5. If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What should I do if I get ill from the 2009 H1N1 virus?
In addition to staying at home some basic medical precautions include consuming plenty of liquids, eat healthily and refrain from smoking. With the exception of some special cases currently there is no requirement to administer medication to 2009 H1N1 patients. The virus is not effected by antibiotics therefore there is no point in using such medication. The use of aspirin to counteract fever can be harmful especially in children. Paracetamol should be used as an antipyretic.
Can I notice symptoms and findings indicative that the illness has taken a more serious course?
Infants: frequent and difficult respiration, grey-blue skin tone, inadequate liquid intake, constant vomiting, difficulty in waking up and communicating, restlessness to the extent that the child does not want to be handled, receding but later repeating and deteriorating symptoms.
Adults: frequent and difficult respiration, pain in the chest and upper abdomen, sudden sense of dizziness and confusion, constant vomiting, receding but later repeating and deteriorating symptoms.
Does a seasonal flu vaccination offer protection from 2009 H1N1?
Even if you get vaccinations regularly on an annual basis, season flu inoculations offer absolutely no protection against 2009 H1N1. Note that, seasonal flu however can be the cause of just as serious an infection as that of 2009 H1N1.
Does a 2009 H1N1 vaccine exist? Who should receive it?
Thanks to the international initiative starting from the first cases of 2009 H1N1 infection, a vaccine has been developed and tested. The side effects of the vaccine, providing a satisfactory level of immunity, are arm pain, swelling in the arm and headaches. The Ministry of Health will import the vaccine into Turkey. According to their plans the vaccine will be ready for use during November 2009. The first group of individuals getting vaccination will include children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, pregnant and puerperal women, healthcare workers, baby and child caretakers, professionals offering emergency and significant services and persons with chronic medical problems.