Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract of pigs and result in a barking cough, decreased, nasal secretions, and listless behavior; the virus can be transmitted to humans.
Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human flu, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. If transmission does cause human flu, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection.
Swine flu is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from people sneezing or coughing; it is not transmitted by eating cooked pork products. The newest swine flu virus that has caused swine flu is influenza A H3N2v (commonly termed H3N2v) that began as an outbreak in 2016. The "v" in the name means the virus is a variant that normally infects only pigs but has begun to infect humans. There have been small outbreaks of H1N1 since the pandemic; a recent one is in India where at least three people have died.
Symptoms of swine flu
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Body aches
Like seasonal flu, swine flu can lead to more serious complications, including pneumonia and respiratory failure. And it can make conditions like diabetes or asthma worse. If you have symptoms like shortness of breath, severe vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, or confusion.
10 home remedies to avoid swine flu
- Have five duly washed leaves of Tulsi (known as Basil in English; medicinal name Ocimum sanctum) everyday in the morning. Tulsi has a large number of therapeutic properties. It keeps throat and lungs clear and helps in infections by way of strengthening your immunity.
- Giloi (medicinal name Tinospora cordifolia) is a commonly available plant in many areas. Take a one-foot long branch of giloi, add five to six leaves of Tulsi and boil in water for 15-20 minutes or long enough to allow the water to extract its properties. Add black pepper and sendha (salt used during religious fasts), rock or black salt, or Misri (crystalised sugar like lumps to make it sweet) according to taste. Let it cool a bit and drink this kadha (concoction) while still warm. It will work wonders for your immunity. If giloi plant is not available, get processed giloi powder from Hamdard or others, and concoct a similar drink once a day.
- A small piece of camphor (kapoor) approximately the size of a tablet should be taken once or twice a month. It can be swallowed with water by adults while children can take it along with mashed potatoes or banana because they will find it difficult to have it without any aides. Please remember camphor is not to be taken everyday, but only once each season, or once a month.
- Those who can take garlic, must have two pods of raw garlic first thing in the morning. To be swallowed daily with lukewarm water. Garlic too strengthens immunity like the earlier measures mentioned.
- Those not allergic to milk, must take a glass of hot or lukewarm milk every night with a small measure of hal
- Aloe vera (gwarpatha) too is a commonly available plant. Its thick and long, cactus-like leaves have an odourless gel. A teaspoon gel taken with water daily can work wonders for not only your skin and joint pains, but also boost immunity.
- Take homeopathic medicines — Pyrogenium 200 and Inflenzium 200 in particular — five tablets three times a day, or two-three drops three times a day. While these are not specifically targeted at H1N1 either, these work well as preventive against common flu virus.
- Do Pranayam daily (preferably under guidance if you are already not initiated into it) and go for morning jog/walk regularly to keep your throat and lungs in good condition and body in fine fettle. Even in small measures, it will work wonders for your body's resistance against all such diseases which attack the nose, throat and lungs, besides keeping you fit.
- Have citrus fruits, particularly Vitamin C rich Amla (Indian gooseberry) juice. Since fresh Amlais not yet available in the market (not for another three to four months), it is not a bad idea to buy packaged Amla juice which is commonly available nowadays.
- Last but not the least, wash your hands frequently every day with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds; especially before meals, or each time after touching a surface that you suspect could be contaminated with flu virus such as a door handle or a knob/handle, especially if you have returned from a public place or used public transport. Alcohol-based hand cleaners should be kept handy at all times and used until you can get soap and warm water.
Complication of swine influenza
Those at higher risk of catching influenza in general include those with the following:
Age of 65 years or old
Chronic health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
But the past epidemics and pandemics of flu have shown that during pandemics most people who succumb are healthy young adults.
Healthy Foods That Help Avoid Swine Flu
Swine flu will have the greatest impact on people with weakened immune systems or who are malnourished. Everyone should take great care to build a strong immune system through a nutritionally balanced diet.
- Eat like a health nut.
- Focus on hydration
- Dilute some liquids
- Anyone wishing to build a strong immune system and avoid swine flu should eat
- Foods rich in protein, like meat, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, beans, nuts, seeds and soy-based foods. Having a minimum of 3 servings of these foods per day will help build a barrier against viral infections like swine flu
- Lots of bright orange (carrots, pumpkins, apricots, and mangoes) and green (spinach and cabbage) fruits and vegetables. The vitamin A in these foods helps strengthen the respiratory membranes
- Vitamin C-rich foods like peppers, spinach, citrus fruits, berries, and peas, which have anti-viral properties and help mobilize bug-eating macrophage cells.
- Beef, eggs and seafood (especially crabs, oysters and sardines) for Zinc, which helps to form antibodies to fight the infection of swine flu.
- Whole grains and pumpkin seeds, which also build antibodies against swine flu.
- Apples, spinach, and other greens with iron in them.
- Cloves and raw garlic (a source of allicin), another defense against swine flu.
- Two echinacea tablets and a 300mg tablet of St Johns Wort three times a day
- Herbal tea with equal parts mint, elderflower and yarrow.
- Take immediate action to include these healthy foods in your diet to build up immunity and avoid the swine flu.