ALL ABOUT THE FLU: How do I know if I have H1N1?
|
Bookmark and Share
 
Nov 16, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

ALL ABOUT THE FLU: How do I know if I have H1N1?

InsideToronto.com

This cold and flu season you’re probably wondering most about the H1N1 virus and the likelihood of either becoming exposed to it, contracting it yourself or it spreading into a pandemic which could potentially threaten your health as well as those around you.

1. What is H1N1?

Also known as "swine flu", H1N1 is a contagious respiratory disease that initially only affected pigs. Generally, strains of swine flu virus would only infect pigs; however, influenza viruses are constantly changing their genes, through a process called mutation. Mutation allows the virus to ‘jump the species barrier’ and subsequently cause the condition in humans - resulting in H1N1 flu virus (human swine flu). Because humans have no natural protection or immunity to this strain of the virus, they are likely to become ill.

2. How is the H1N1 virus transmitted?

The H1N1 flu virus is contagious. Person-to-person transmission is believed to occur the same way as regular seasonal influenza. The virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, and/or mouth. Coughing and sneezing releases the virus into the air, where it can be inhaled by others. The virus can also rest on hard surfaces like doorknobs, ATM buttons and counters. If someone touches these surfaces with their hands and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose they can become infected with the virus.

And contrary to popular belief, you cannot get infected with the H1N1 flu virus from eating pork products.

3. What the symptoms are associated with H1N1?

H1N1 flu symptoms are very similar to those of seasonal human influenza, so it’s tricky to distinguish between the two. People with H1N1 may experience body aches, chills, cough, fatigue, fever, headache, loss of appetite, and sore throat. Some people with H1N1 flu virus have also reported vomiting and diarrhea. The severity of symptoms can vary from mild to severe and patients sometimes require hospitalization. In some cases, severe complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure can cause death. Like the seasonal flu, H1N1 flu may worsen existing chronic medical conditions.

4. How do I know if I have H1N1?

A doctor can perform laboratory tests that help identify the H1N1 virus. If you’ve recently travelled to an area of the world where there is a human swine flu outbreak or you have any flu-like symptoms, you should see your doctor and be sure to tell the doctor where you have visited. If you suspect H1N1, call your doctor’s office ahead of time so they can prepare for your visit.

A vaccine is anticipated in Canada this fall to protect humans from H1N1 virus. In the meantime, there are antiviral medications available to help prevent and treat H1N1 (amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir). Most people with previously reported human ‘swine flu’ (H1N1) have been able to recover fully without medical attention and without antiviral medications. Prevention strategies are key to avoiding the spread of H1N1 in our communities.

5. How can I protect myself from contracting H1N1?

• Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly for at least 15 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

• Maintain a distance of one metre from people who are sick and have symptoms of H1N1 (e.g. fever, cough).

• Get an annual influenza immunization (flu shot). This may not protect you from H1N1 flu, but it can prevent some strains of human influenza. This may prevent an infection of both human swine and human influenza at the same time helps your body learn to produce antibodies and builds your immunity.

• Practice good health habits like getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and staying physically active.

• Add immune boosting foods, vitamins and Supplements to your daily routine - garlic, Vitamin C, zinc, Echinacea.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or with your sleeve or hands. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

• Lastly, if you become sick, stay home from work or school until you’re fully recovered.


 

ALL ABOUT THE FLU is brought to you by Rexall.

|
Bookmark and Share

In Your Neighbourhood Today

SPONSORED CONTENT View More