In April 2009, the H1N1 swine flu virus appeared in the U.S. and sadly never went away. The flu cases surged, and in no time this illness became a pandemic. With the increasing number of people getting affected with the virus, there came many swine flu prevention tips to safeguard the rest.
Though swine flu originated in pigs, it was only in 2009 that it was first discovered in humans. Swine flu is spread primarily from person to person and can be kept at bay by adopting healthy habits like regularly washing hands with Dettol hand wash.
What is Swine Flu?
Causing respiratory illness in pigs, swine flu or H1N1 is an infectious disease caused by type A influenza virus. This illness is called swine flu because the virus spreads to humans from pigs. The virus is known as reassortant as it a combination of swine, avian and human genes. Medically, it is known as influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus. This mutation and subsequent spread led to the 2009 pandemic that spread to millions of people and killed half a million people worldwide.
Is Swine Flu only Caused By Pigs?
The H1N1 virus initially metamorphosed in pigs only and this was several years before the pandemic of 2009. Initially, the virus originated in pigs but has since then spread to humans with close contact from such infected pigs.
H1N1 swine flu is a specific strain of the influenza virus that causes flu in pigs. A decade ago, in 2009, a new mutated strain of influenza was found in humans that had not previously been seen.
So, in short – no. This strain is one that is communicable only through human-to-human contact. The swine virus mutates to spread to humans and after that spreads by humans.
What Increases the Risk of Swine Flu?
Even though anyone can get swine flu, some people are at a higher risk than others. Seasonal influenza is more likely to strike people above the age of 65. The risk is high for:
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- People with COPD or other acute lung conditions
- People with immune suppression
- People with neurological, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular conditions
How to Protect from Swine Flu?
Influenza spreads between humans through mucus upon coughing or sneezing. People touching something (surface or object) with the virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose may lead to the spread of the virus.
Swine flu prevention is best done by using standard infection control. The three most important things that prevent swine flu are:
- Maintaining hand hygiene
H1N1 can spread through coughs and sneezes, and with direct contact. However, studies show that small droplets of mucus and saliva containing the virus can linger on tables, keyboards and other surfaces that are frequently touched by many people. Touching these places with fingers can transfer the virus to the nose, mouth, or eyes.
The most effective way of swine flu prevention is by maintaining appropriate hand hygiene. Washing hands with Dettol hand wash regularly is mandatory. Medical experts believe that precautionary measures such as hand hygiene best prevent viral infections. Washing hands with Dettol Hand Wash is the best and proven way to maintain hand hygiene. However, washing hands is not always possible, hence carrying a Dettol hand sanitizer in such situations will cut down the risk of swine flu.
- Covering face
Since swine flu can spread with sneezing and coughing, it is essential to cover the face, especially during a pandemic. Surgical or pollution masks work well in preventing the spread of flu.
- Maintaining Social Distance
During a pandemic, like the current 2019 swine flu pandemic in India – it is best to avoid public places, especially if you have a weaker immune system. Avoid large public gatherings when the infection is at its peak.
Swine flu is a cause of concern; however, with adequate precautionary measures, it can be controlled. If symptoms are resembling the flu, seeing a doctor becomes all the more critical. It becomes even more necessary when there is an outbreak of H1N1 in the community. Washing hands with Dettol hand wash and covering the face in public places will help in keeping the flu away.