The Influenza Virus strain H1N1 that causes Swine Flu is now spreading across the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Along with the scare have also travelled rumours that are very commonly associated with Swine flu. We Spoke to Dr. Varun Sharma, MD Medicine, GMC Jammu, to bust some of the myths that are circulating about now.
Q Does Eating Chicken cause Swine Flu or for that matter Eating Pork Cause Swine Flu?
Swine Flu is caused by H1N1 and Bird Flu is the H5N1 strain of the influenza virus. These are two different strains causing different forms of infection. Eating pork (pig meat)or chicken meat does not transfer Swine flu (pig flu).
The cause of Swine flu is Human to Human Contact.
Q What all forms of human contact can spread the Virus?
Almost everything that you can think of. Since infected human to human contact is the culprit, anything such as Handshakes, Using the same towels or handkerchief, being in the close vicinity of someone sneezing or coughing, using the laptop or mobile phone for instance after a person sneezes an so on. The hygiene matters and your contact with a person who is infected can put you in a fix.
Q What are the precautions one can take?
Keeping your immune up is the key. Quite frankly, the virus would not affect you if you have a strong immune system you are in the safe zone.
From Pigs to humans
The virus can transfer to those who rear infected pigs in poultry farms and close contact with infected can actually increase the chances of the virus infection.
Those in the meat processing industry can also contract the virus although the chances of contraction of the virus from processed meat are lower. THE VIRUS DOES NOT TRANSFER THROUGH CONSUMPTION OF COOKED PORK OR CHICKEN MEAT.
From Humans to Humans
Influenza spreads between humans when infected people cough or sneeze and then other people breathe in the virus or touch something with the virus on it and then touch their own face.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
– Wash hands frequently with soap and water or even better an alcohol sanitizer.
– People with flu like symptoms should stay away from public places.
Q What are the symptoms of Swine Flu?
The symptoms are the same for pigs and humans:
• Body aches
• Loss of appetite
• Feeling of being tired
• Prominent coughing
• General lethargy
Runny nose, sore throat and watery eyes have also been reported in some cases.
The only way to know for sure is to get your samples checked in a laboratory.
Q I am not infected with Swine Flu but should I take Tamiflu (Swine Flu Medicine) so that I do not contract the infection?
Do not consume the medicine unless directed by your doctor.