H1N1 influenza virus is a new type of flu virus and as most people do not have resistance to it, it spreads rapidly. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of flu to prevent its spread and seek treatment promptly.
The symptoms of swine flu include;
• fever or high temperature (over 38°C/100.4°F)
• extreme tiredness,
• cold or runny nose,
• sore throat,
• shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
• decrease in appetite,
• aching muscles (myalgia),
• stomach upset such as diarrhea or vomiting.
A person with fever or high temperature (over 38°C/100.4°F) and two or more of the symptoms mentioned above may have swine flu.
In general swine flu causes a mild illness and most people with swine flu recover with adequate rest, taking plenty of water or fluids and over-the-counter flu medication. However, flu can be serious and cause complications in some people.
Risk of complications or serious illness with swine flu is increased in people with;
• chronic (long-term) lung or respiratory tract disease,
• chronic heart disease (congenital or acquired)
• chronic kidney disease (such as renal failure, end stage renal disease)
• chronic liver disease (such as cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis)
• chronic neurological disease (such as motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease),
• immunosuppression (either due to a disease, medication or treatment), or
• endocrine diseases such as type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus
The risk is increased in people;
• who have received drug treatment for asthma in the last three years,
• are pregnant,
• more than 65 years of age
• children younger than five years.
If you have flu like illness and are at higher risk of complications or serious illness consult your doctor immediately. You may be advised to take antiviral drugs which will;
• reduce the duration of symptoms or illness
• reduce some of the symptoms
• reduce the risk of serious complications such as pneumonia.
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