Thursday, February 26, 2015

MYTHS and FACTS about swine flu!!!!

Being a chest physician I encounter a number of patients everyday. With swine flu cases on rise I come across so may questions by the patients.

Here are a few of them.
1. Does swine flu spread from PIGS
2. Does it spread with pork consumption
3. Can anyone contract flu through flu shots or vaccines
4.Does swine flu spread through eating chicken
5. Does it spread through blood transfusion.
6. Does it spread through mosquitos?
and a few questions asked to me in quora like
1. Does smoking protects against swine flu
2. How can I protect myself from swine flu,  in an epidemic

This stimulated me to write this article on MYTHS and FACTS of SWINE FLU

1.Does swine flu spread from PIGS

  Initially it has spread from pigs to humans.  The current H1N1 virus was a triple gene combination between bird, human and pig influenza  and can have human to human transmission as a commonest mode of spread.
   Initially the virus which underwent triple re-assortment  and spread to humans, following that human to human transmission has occurred . Healthy Pigs do not transmit the virus.

2.  Does it spread through Pork consumption

  The answer is a clear no, there is no proof to say that swine flu spreads through cooked pork. so next time you are feasting on pork, you can have without any fear in mind.

3.Can anyone contract flu through flu shots or vaccines
   If it is flu shots i.e injection vaccine, swine flu doesn't occur, as it is a killed vaccine , but if it is an intranasal vaccine i.e a nasal drop like vaccine then there may be chances a subclinical infection, because it is the live attenuated vaccine we use for intranasal vaccination.

4. Does swine flu spread through eating chicken?

It cant be true because swine flu has got nothing to do with chicken, if you are concerned, somewhere in your mind you are recalling the Bird Flu which affected thousands worldwide with a very high mortality. since chicken has no role whatsoever, it doesnt play any role in swine flu causation.

5. Does it spread through blood transfusion.

 guys there are remote chances of transmission through blood transfusion, but here comes the logic. swine flu doesnt have a carrier state i.e it cant remain in the body without causing any disease. so if there is virus in the body the person will become sick and blood is not taken from a sick person for storage and transfusion.

6.Does it spread through mosquitos?
   Swine flu doesnt spread through the mosquito bites. The only route is through airborne route through droplet infection and also through fomites like handkerchief, towels etc.

Moving on to the question asked in the quora

1.Does smoking protects against swine flu

OMG!!! i was all shocked to get a notification about this question. our airways are damaged by smoking, so it increases the chance of infection. smoking increases the risk of swine flu many folds. so people its better to quit smoking and avoid life threatening complications of swine flu.

2.  How do I protect from swine flu 

1. Avoid crowded places- virus spreads through cough, sneeze. 
2. Wash hands more frequently- to wash away virus if it comes in contact with hand.
3. Hands off the face technique-virus enters the body through nose, mouth and eyes, avoid unnecessarily touching the face.
4. Gargle with warm saline(salt) water twice daily- once the virus enters the body it takes 2-3 days to cause the disease, during which it multiplies in the airway cells, infecting one cell after another, by gargling we are flushing out the viruses which are released in the airways, thereby preventing them infecting other cells
5. Consume more hot beverages. It flushes the virus into the stomach where it will be killed by the acid.
6. Take more of citrus fruits, rich in vitamin C like oranges, amla, lemon
7. Consume more fluids.
8. If you have high fever for more than 2 days, visit your doctor for evaluation, it could be swine flu.
9. Use a hand kerchief while coughing and sneezing... 
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