What is Swine Flu?
Swine flu is a type A influenza virus (the other main variants of the type A influenza virus are bird flu, human flu, horse flu and dog flu). In normal situations, swine flu is passed from one pig to another. However, although it is not common, it is possible for swine flu to be passed from a pig to a human. Once the swine flu virus has been passed from a pig to a human, the virus can also be passed from one human to another.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Swine Flu?
Because swine flu is a type A influenza virus, the signs and symptoms of the swine flu virus are similar to those of the human flu. The common early signs and symptoms of the swine flu virus are: body aches, chills, cough, fatigue, fever, headache and sore throat.
Although it is advised the children and adults visit their medical provider as soon as they begin to exhibit any of these signs or symptoms, there are additional signs or symptoms that signify that immediate medical care is required:
In children, the signs and symptoms which signify the need for immediate medical care are: bluish skin color, irritability to the point of a child refusing to be held, fever combined with a rash, difficulty breathing (or faster than normal breathing), failure to drink enough fluids, an improvement in the primary flu symptoms listed above (only to have the symptoms return with a worsened cough and fever) or a failure to interact and/or wake up.
In adults, the signs and symptoms which signify the need for immediate medical care are: confusion, a sudden onset of dizziness, trouble breathing (or a shortness of breath), severe vomiting that persists or pressure and/or pain in the abdomen or chest.
Can You Get the Swine Flu Virus from Eating Pork or Pork Products?
No, this common misconception is not true. It is safe to eat or handle pork or pork products that have been prepared properly.
There are only three ways that a human can get the swine flu virus. The first is by coming in contact with a pig that has the swine flu virus. The second is by coming in contact with a human that has the swine flu virus (common methods of human to human transmission of this virus are coughing and sneezing. The third is by touching an object or surface that has been exposed to the swine flu virus (research has shown that different bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces outside of the body for two hours or longer), and then exposing your body to the virus (such as by touching your mouth or nose).
Is the Swine Flu Virus Fatal?
Although it is not common, there is the possibility of dying from the swine flu virus. For example, in 1976, there was an outbreak of swine flu in Fort Dix, New Jersey. Out of over two hundred people who were infected with the swine flu virus, there was only one reported death.