Swine Flu is the latest influenza breakout amongst humans. It was first detected in humans in April 2009 in the USA. Since then, cases of Swine Flu have been reported in Mexico and Canada as well. This has sent out the fear of a pandemic all over the world. Like most other countries, Indian authorities are also working hard to prevent an outbreak in our country.

Here are a few things you must know about Swine Flu…

Swine Flu Or H1N1?

When the virus was positively tested in labs, it was called Swine Flu because many of its genes matched with ones found in influenza virus of pigs. But further studies have revealed that this virus is different from the flu virus of swine. This new virus has a combination of genes found in flu viruses of pigs, birds and humans. This is why the virus has now been named N1H1.

Can You Catch This Virus From Pigs?

As of now, there is no evidence of this virus affecting swine. But influenza virus can transmit to and from pigs, so the possibility cannot be ruled out.

Does N1H1 spread between humans?

Yes, this new virus easily spreads between humans and has proven to be quite contagious. But we do not exactly know (yet) how this virus spreads amongst humans. But it is assumed that exposure through coughing, wheezing or touching spreads the infection.

Is Eating Pork Dangerous?

H1N1 virus does NOT spread through eating pork. It is perfectly safe to eat properly cleaned and cooked pork.

Can You Catch The Virus Through Drinking Water?

Standard water purifying mechanisms are known to be effective against influenza viruses. Chlorination of drinking water makes the virus inactive. Till date, no case of influenza virus in humans has been reported to have been contracted through contaminated drinking water.

Safeguarding Yourself

People are advised to maintain general health by eating nutritious diet and getting proper exercise along with rest. Apart from this, washing hands frequently is very important to keep the virus at bay. Do not touch surfaces in public places, e g do not touch door handles or knobs or stairwell railings in public places. Avoid contact with sick people.

Are You Infected?

If you feel sick and are in an area where cases of N1H1 have been reported, it is serious business. Check for symptoms like fever, runny nose, sore throat, body ache, tiredness, nausea or diarrhea. If you have these symptoms, visit a hospital without wasting any time. Try to wear a mask, so that you do not spread the infection.

What Is The Government Doing?

Indian authorities have deployed teams of medical practitioners at all the international airports and ports in India. All the people arriving from countries where the virus has been reported, are being screened for symptoms. Anyone who is observed to display the symptoms of the virus will be quarantined till further tests are completed. Thus, the infection can be prevented from spreading.

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