Everything about H1N1 that you didn’t know during the outbreak

The H1N1 virus which is also known as ‘swine flu’ is a strain of a contagious respiratory influenza that was rampant during the year 2009. The H1N1 virus gets its name ‘swine flu’ from its imminent similarities to the virus that commonly affect pigs. Swine Flu spreads like any normal seasonal flu and is potent enough to spread by just affected person sneezing or coughing. Sometimes, it can even be spread by communicating with an affected person. Another aspect of this particular virus is that people below the age group of 65 years, who have contracted the virus, have a higher mortality rate.

The virus was medically termed as an epidemic outbreak in 2009. It spread all across the globe starting with the US and Mexico, followed by several other regions including India. The pandemic affected and killed over 0.001-0.007% of the world’s overall population. In India alone, more than 31,000 thousand people were reportedly affected and over 1,900 people lost their lives to this deadly virus.

Despite H1N1 garnering lot of media attention during the epidemic, many people still lack proper knowledge on the particular disease. This blog is intended towards helping you know more about the virus in detail and to be well-prepared if it were to strike again in the future.

Understanding H1N1

The H and N stand for the proteins present on the surface of the virus that enables scientists and the medical community to distinguish between the other influenza A subtypes.

Most often, the H1N1 virus spreads through physical contact with the affected person and these are the most common symptoms:

  1. Chills

  2. Body pain

  3. Fatigue

  4. Cough

  5. Cold

  6. Loss of appetite

Most of these symptoms are common to any regular type of cold or flu, however, it is imperative that you take immediate medical assistance if you encounter any of the aforementioned symptoms to keep away from harm’s way. Each H1N1 case varies depending on the degree to which the virus has affected the person, their age, and other medical factors. In some extreme cases, the virus may cause complication in the respiratory process that could even lead to death.

Treatment

The symptoms of H1N1 are treated not the disease itself. Sometimes antiviral drugs are prescribed to reduce complications and help alleviate the symptoms. But being exposed to antivirals can increase the resistance to the same. That’s why antivirals are only prescribed to patients with high risk like children below the age of 5, people above the age of 65, pregnant women, people on immunosuppressants and people on aspirin therapy.

Prevention

Currently, a vaccine for H1N1 influenza virus is available that comes as an injectable and as a nasal spray. The vaccine is ineffective in people who already have an active infection of the virus.

Though the virus hit headlines way back in 2009, it does not mean H1N1 can’t make a comeback. The only difference now is that you are ready with the right information.

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