The swine flu has been all over the news lately. There have been many reports on its origins and how it got started in the U.S. Just the word pandemic is scary. It is only natural that many people are worried, especially if you come down sick. All it might take is just one sneeze and soon you are thinking “Is this swine flu”? The first thing you should do is not panic. There are many, many different viruses, bacteria, and bugs that you can get. But if you are worried about catching the swine flu, here is some useful information for you on symptoms, treatments, and vaccines.
Symptoms of Swine Flu
The symptoms for swine flu can be hard to self diagnose. They are similar to the regular flu strain and include everything from a fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, fatigue, and a headache. There have even been some reports of diarrhea, vomiting, and mild respiratory ailments such as nasal congection and rhinorrhea along with the swine flu. Even conjuctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye, has been a rare occurrence with the swine flu. As you can see, all of these symptoms can be caused by a number of different factors. Even a doctor cannot diagnose you just by your symptoms alone. To know if you have the swine flu, your doctor will have to run a blood test at a lab to see if you are infected or if you have something else.
Treatment for Swine Flu
There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.
The antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza have proven to have some effect in treating the swine flu. The CDC has recommended those drugs to either prevent or treat swine flu. Tamiflu and Relenza have been most effective if the patient happens to take them within 48 hours after the first sign of symptoms. The drugs definitely do help but not all cases have required drugs. Some of the earlier confirmed cases (a positive blood test) recovered without drug treatment. To further help in the fight against the swine flu, the Department of Homeland Security has released a quarter of its stockpile of Tamiflu and Relenza to individual states and local officials have asked people not to hoard Tamiflu or Relenza. So don’t get in a panic and go buy up all the Tamiflu in the store. Be considerate of others because they may be the ones who really need it.
What Is Tamiflu
Tamiflu is an antiviral drug that is approved for use in the U.S. The drug is designed to fight off viruses; in particular, it fights influenza (or flu) viruses. Although there is no cure for the flu once you get it, Tamiflu can help by shortening the length of time of the sickness as well as making it less severe. So do not think that Tamiflu is going to instantly cure you if you get the flu.
How Tamiflu works is it hinders a reproducing virus that’s trying to spread from one cell to infect other cells. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own. In order to spread, a virus must latch onto a living cell and insert its genetic material into that cell. By taking over host cells, it makes copies of itself. The more cells the virus takes over, the more sick you get. Eventually, the cell dies and those new viruses break out of the host cell to start the process over, attacking other cells. When Tamiflu traps the virus in the host cell, it prevents the virus from breaking out and spreading to other cells.
Is There A Swine Flu Vaccine
At this time, there is no vaccine for humans against the swine flu. There are vaccines that are available to pigs to prevent swine influenza but there is nothing to prevent humans from swine flu. The seasonal flu vaccine will likely help give some partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1 viruses. The best prevention against the swine flu is to be very disciplined about cleanliness and to disinfect everything that comes into contact with the virus. Wash your hands regularly and use disinfectant wipes on objects such as the phone, doorknobs, and anything else that is handled a lot. For other ways to help prevent the spread of the swine flu, you can always visit the website for the CDC.