Swine flu: Diagnosis and Treatment

As fresh cases of swine flu have been reported yet again, here’s a low-down on swine flu diagnosis and treatment. 

Also read: Swine flu: An introduction

Swine FluDiagnosing swine flu

The diagnosis for swine flu starts with taking a brief history of patient and any previous illness, current medications, hospitalizations and surgery.

A rapid test to differentiate between type -A and type-B influenza is done by taking a swab or sample of the patient’s respiratory secretions from nose and throat. Swine flu is likely to be there if the test is positive for influenza B. If the test confirms influenza A then, the person may be affected with traditional swine flu virus. Since the accuracy of these quick tests is not determined, there is a new test called PCR test (polymerase chain reaction test) which is done to check specific genetic virus material.

Since this test requires special procedure and isolation, it cannot be done in any of the local laboratories and is performed only in specified hospitals or laboratories set ups.

The symptoms of swine flu are found overlapping those of general influenza, it is extremely important to conduct this test for differential diagnosis and to prevent other extreme complications.

Treatment for swine flu

In humans affected with swine flu, administration of anti viral drugs within two days of symptoms brings considerable relief and faster recovery. Along with this, the focus should be on controlling the fever, maintaining body hydration, reducing pain and timely identification of other infections or complications secondary to swine flu.

Prevention of swine flu

Prevention in swine

Herd management, facility management and swine flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection in the pigs.  Strategies to combat secondary infections should be taken by using disinfectants and maintaining an optimum temperature in the environment to prevent activation of viruses.

Preventing pig to human transmission

Framers in close contact with pigs at the farm are required to wear a mask, wear gloves while in contact with the infected animal.

Prevention of spread in humans

Following measures should be taken for prevention of virus. As an exception, the virus is not transmitted by consuming pork products.

  • Use a good disinfectant to clean floors, surfaces and door handles etc.
  • Wash hands with antibacterial soap and water frequently.
  • Use alcohol based sanitizer in public places.
  • Keeping a distance, socially from people sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, face or nose.
  • Dispose dirty tissues, clothing etc. properly.
  • It’s advisable to wear a mask at crowded places.
  • Keep your body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water so that toxins are washed away.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits properly.
  • With any influenza like symptom, a consultation with the doctor is a must.

Photograph via sxc.huLike us on Facebook!

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