Swine Flu and Regular Flu – Similarities and Differences
The year 2009 marked an important event in the history of influenza treatment. The virus that caused the H1N1 influenza pandemic that year had earlier infected only pigs. Experts found a novel H1N1 strain in 2009, capable of infecting humans also. So the term swine flu is loosely associated with a new kind of influenza that can be transmitted from pigs to humans. Its difference from regular flu (seasonal influenza) can only be diagnosed through a flu test, because their symptoms are often very similar.
At the time of discovery, the swine flu virus was a novel one because it never infected humans before. It implied that the human immune system had no previous experience of fighting that particular viral strain. Regular influenza is comparatively easier to tackle because many of us have had flu at some point in our lives.
Annual flu shots and prescription medicines such as Tamiflu oseltamivir can help you tackle different viral strains that cause seasonal influenza. A new H1N1 vaccine was developed after the 2009 outbreak to protect people against swine flu.
The H1N1 type flu strain can infect healthy and young people and is stronger than the regular flu strains that mainly target people with weakened immune systems. If you consider the treatment options, Tamiflu is indicated for flu treatment and prevention in people aged 1 or above. So be it regular influenza or swine influenza, oseltamivir can be helpful.
It is not easy to distinguish the two conditions from their symptoms. The common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, body ache, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, fatigue and maybe nausea and diarrhea.
There is not much difference in the way both seasonal flu and swine flu transmit from one agent to another. All influenza viruses are transmitted mainly through coughing or sneezing by people infected with flu. You can also catch flu by touching someone or something carrying the viruses and then touching your own nose or mouth.
A major difference between seasonal flu and swine flu is that people aged over 65 years are more at risk of getting infected with seasonal flu than with swine flu. This is probably because aged people develop residual immunity to even some of the newer types of flu strains.
Unlike regular flu, swine flu progresses quickly and can cause severe respiratory symptoms within just 5 days after getting infected with H1N1. This is why hospital care is recommended to effectively combat swine flu.
Whenever you experience flu-like symptoms, talk to your doctor and possibly get a flu test done. No matter what type of flu you have, treatment must start early.
If your doctor recommends Tamiflu for you, make sure you complete the entire treatment course. Tell your doctor if you have kidney, liver, heart or lung conditions, or if you are pregnant or nursing at the moment.