The recent outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) has caused widespread panic across the world, with some countries banning all travel from Mexico. Despite this fear, there are actually few differences between regular flu and swine flu.
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand the difference between the two types of flu so that you can feel more confident about protecting yourself against both viruses.
As always, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
What Is Regular Flu?
Regular flu is caused by a virus called influenza A or B. Both viruses are spread through coughing, sneezing and nose blowing, although it mainly affects adults over the age of 65. Symptoms include fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue. The most serious cases develop into pneumonia, which may be fatal.
If you catch regular flu, your best course of action is to rest up and drink plenty of fluids. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible, especially if you think you’re showing symptoms such as a high temperature. If you do contract regular flu, you will start to recover after 7-10 days.
Regular flu usually causes mild outbreaks every year, but occasionally an unusual strain appears. So far this year, we’ve seen H3N2, which is different to last year’s seasonal H1N1 strain. There’s been no evidence of a new swine flu variant yet.
There are various different types of flu symptoms which are found in human body such as high fever, cough, body and muscle aches, frequent headache, more fatigue. All these are the common symptoms which are seen in human body after getting flu. So if you ever see any of these issues than it is very serious for you and you have to consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
What Is Swine Flu?
Swine flu is a strain of H1N1, and it first appeared in 2009. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) had expected to see around 200 million cases of swine flu worldwide during the 2009-2010 winter season, only 1 million people were infected. The WHO had previously estimated that a pandemic of swine flu could cause up to 100 million deaths.
In 2011, the WHO changed its estimates dramatically, putting the death toll at between 18,000 and 80,000 globally. However, these predictions are based on a worst case scenario. In reality, the number of fatalities was closer to 500-600, and the number of infected cases was closer to 1 million.
Although swine flu is not currently causing widespread panic, it does remain a dangerous illness. It spreads easily from human to human, and can be particularly deadly for young children, pregnant women and older people. This is because they lack immunity to the virus, and their lungs are less able to fight infections. However, despite being a rare disease, swine flu is still very common in developing countries where hygiene standards are poor.
If you contract swine flu, then you should go straight to hospital as soon as possible. Most hospitals are equipped to deal with swine flu, and can administer antiviral drugs to prevent the infection spreading further.
Is Swine Flu More Dangerous than Regular Flu?
No, swine flu is just as dangerous as ordinary flu. As a result of the H1N1 pandemic, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) introduced a new ‘flu severity index’ in 2010. This measures how seriously ill a patient becomes, and divides them into three categories: severe, critical and urgent.
If you contract swine flu, you are likely to fall within the severe category, meaning that you need immediate medical attention. However, even severe cases rarely require intensive care or ventilation. As long as you stay hydrated, rest and take painkillers, you shouldn’t be in too much trouble.
There is little difference between swine flu and regular flu other than the fact that swine flu tends to affect younger patients and those who are overweight. However, swine flu is usually much more contagious, so it is recommended that you avoid public places whenever possible. If you do contract swine flu, then you should stay indoors until you recover, and wash your hands as often as possible.
To protect yourself against the possibility of contracting either type of flu, you should always follow basic hygiene rules. Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, avoid touching your eyes or nose, and wear a face mask if you live in an area prone to epidemics. If you live in a rural part of the UK, you should check out our list of essential supplies before heading out.