H1N1 flu or swine flu, occurs due to the H3N2 and H1N1 strains of the influenza flu. Given that these are the influenza flu strains, h1n1 symptoms are often similar to those of the seasonal or common flu.
During the spring of 2019, scientists discovered a specific strain of the flu virus known as the H1N1. This virus happens to be a combination of the viruses from birds, pigs, and humans that cause humans to get sick. During the flu season of 2009-2010, this H1N1 caused a specific respiratory infection in people called swine flu. Given the number of people who got sick because of this virus in 2009, WHO declared the flu a pandemic. In 2010 August, the pandemic was over, according to WHO.
There are now vaccines available that can combat swine flu. However, it is crucial to know the h1n1 symptoms to remain safe. Read on to know the symptoms of h1n1 in both children and adults. Also, know what you should do if you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your family members.
Symptoms of H1N1 in adults
The h1n1 symptoms are quite similar to those of the common flu. However, these symptoms often come all of a sudden rather than coming gradually. Some of the symptoms of the H1N1 virus in adults include:
Fever is a common symptom of the flu. However, all people affected with the H1N1 virus might not get a fever. In case you get a fever along with other flu symptoms, it is best to see a doctor.
This is another common symptom, similar to swine flu and the regular flu. It would help if you considered taking hot beverages like caffeine-free tea frequently to soothe your throat. Gargling with lukewarm salted water might also help.
Congested or runny nose
You are very likely to get a runny nose when you get the flu. The regular flu is often caused by catching a cold, and therefore getting a runny nose is common. However, even in the case of swine flu, you might get a congested and runny nose. Consider taking in vapor to help your condition.
This is one of the most common symptoms of any flu. Headache often comes as an initial sign of the flu and gradually worsens as the days pass. If you get a nagging headache that won’t get away along with the other mentioned symptoms, you should consider seeking medical help.
Dry cough can often be the result of flu. Monitor your cough carefully and go to the doctor if it does not get better within two days. You can also consider taking prescribed cough syrups for soothing your throat.
You are very likely to feel extremely tired when you get the flu. This symptom remains the same for all types of flu. Feeling fatigued is different from feeling tired after a day’s work, and you must know the difference.
You can experience chills that come with or without the fever when you have the flu.
Your body is very likely to be aching because of the flu virus affecting you. Taking plenty of rest will help you to get better.
Some people might also get diarrhea when they are affected by the flu virus.
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite due to the flu is quite a common symptom.
Vomiting or nausea
Certain flu patients might experience nausea or vomit if they get the flu.
These are some of the most common and initial h1n1 symptoms that occur in adults.
Symptoms of H1N1 in babies and children
It is rather challenging to detect the h1n1 symptoms in babies and children because they cannot communicate regarding what they are feeling. In case you think your child or a child you know might have the H1N1 virus, then you should look out for these specific symptoms:
- Irritability or fussiness
- Breathing trouble
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Having issues with waking up
- A fever appearing with rashes
These symptoms can happen in the case of common flu as well. However, it is better not to neglect these symptoms and consult a medical professional immediately. Since we are talking about babies and children, be it the common flu or the swine flu, they need professional medical help to get well as soon as possible.
Causes of swine flu
Now that you have an idea of the h1n1 symptoms, it is better to know the causes of swine flu. Like the influenza virus that causes the common flu, the H1N1 virus infects the cells that line your lungs, nose, and throat. The virus can enter your body through inhaling droplets that are contaminated. You can also get the virus by live transferring the virus from a surface already contaminated to your mouth, eyes, or nose.
It is important to note here that the swine flu does not spread by eating pork. This is a common misconception about swine flu that people have, and it is entirely wrong.
If you are someone who travels or stays in a place where several people are affected by the H1N1 virus, then you pose a higher chance of getting affected. Veterinarians and swine farmers stand the highest chance of getting swine flu because they work closely with this.
The complication of getting the H1N1 virus include:
- Worsening of certain previous chronic health conditions like asthma and heart problems
- Neurological issues that might range in between confusion and seizures
- Failure of the respiratory system.
When shall you see a doctor?
Knowing about the h1n1 symptoms is not enough as you need to know when you should visit a doctor if you notice these symptoms. Like other viral infections, the flu, be it the swine flu or the common flu, does not respond to antibiotics. In most flu cases, the patient needs to get plenty of rest and take enough fluids.
However, some patients stand the risk of developing various complications from the H1N1 virus, and they need to seek medical help if they notice the flu symptoms. This group of people includes:
- Children under five years of age
- Pregnant women
- Older adults over 65 years of age
- People who have a relatively weak immune system because of a specific medical record or chronic health issues.
- People with asthma, lung disease, diabetes, and heart conditions.
In case you or someone you know pose the risk of developing complications from the h1n1 virus, you are most likely to be prescribed some antiviral medication like oseltamivir.
Antiviral medications may prove to help reduce the severity of the symptoms. However, these medications work best if taken within a day or two of the arrival of the symptoms. Therefore, you should consider seeking medical help at the earliest if you have chances of developing complications from the h1n1 symptoms.
The following symptoms would need your immediate attention and professional medical help:
- Breathing trouble or shortness of breath
- Pressure or pain in the abdomen or chest
- Suddenly a feeling of dizziness
- Intense vomiting that won’t stop
- Symptoms of the flu get better but then return with more severity.
In the case of babies and children, these are some of the h1n1 symptoms that would require immediate medical assistance:
- Fast-paced breathing
- Extreme irritability; to a point where the child does not want to be held
- Skin that has been tinted blue
- Not taking enough fluids
- Facing trouble to wake up
Prevention of the swine flu
The primary way of preventing getting the swine flu or any flu for that matter is taking the annual flu vaccine. Everyone above the age of six months should take this vaccine to ensure immunity against the flu.
Each year, the seasonal flu vaccine prevents patients from getting three or four types of influenza virus that includes H1N1. The flu vaccine will reduce your chances of getting affected by the flu and its severity if you get the flu. It will also ensure absolute safety from developing other flu-related complications and getting admitted to the hospital.
The flu vaccine is readily available in the form of a nasal spray or an injection. Healthy people aged between 2 to 49 years can use nasal spray without significant health hazards. However, the nasal spray is not recommended for certain people, like, children aged between 2-4 years of age having asthma or other respiratory issues, pregnant women, and people who have a relatively weak immunity system.
How to prevent spread of flu?
Certain measures can help prevent a flu from spreading further:
This is one of the most effective methods of stopping the flu’s spread, be it influenza or the swine flu. If you feel sick and have some of the symptoms discussed above, then you should consider staying home. Going out would mean that you will only spread the flu. It is better to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever has been gone and you have not taken any medication to reduce the fever within that time.
Cover your mouth while sneezing and coughing
This is another essential measure you need to take to ensure that the flu does not spread. When you have the flu, you will very likely be coughing and sneezing. Make sure to sneeze or cough in a tissue or the insides of your elbow. You should avoid coughing in the palms of your hand. In case you do that, make sure to wash your hands right after.
Wash your hand plenty of times
Washing your hands properly with water and soap is an important measure that can stop flu spread. In case you do not want to apply water frequently to your hands, you can consider using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. However, washing your hands with water remains the best option as using excessive sanitizer might cause skin problems later on.
Do not touch your nose or face
When someone around you has the flu, you should refrain from touching your face or nose. This will ensure that the virus does not spread.
Avoid physical contact
It is imperative to avoid physical contact with anyone who has the flu or has the symptoms at least. In case you have developed symptoms of the flu, you should consider staying away from crowded places. You should maintain distance from people who are healthy as otherwise, you might cause them the flu. If you have asthma or you are expecting, you should be extra careful to maintain distance. The flu might lead to various other complications if you don’t take care.
Frequently clean the surfaces
It is important to keep various household surfaces to ensure the surface is free of virus contamination. If you do not clean the surfaces regularly, they might end up being contaminated. Touching such surfaces can make you fall sick.
These are the primary things you need to know about h1n1 symptoms. Taking the flu shot should keep you safe from getting swine flu. However, if you happen to get the flu to notice any of these symptoms, it is better to consult a doctor.
The common flu symptoms generally start getting better within two days. Therefore, if your symptoms do not get better within a day or two, you should seek medical help. Delaying seeking medical help might only cause unnecessary health complications related to the flu. You should be especially active in seeking medical help if you have chronic health issues like asthma or diabetes.