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Swine Flu or H1N1 Virus in Lebanon

Swine Flu or H1N1 Virus in Lebanon

The Lebanese Health Ministry has issued a warning over an increase in the number of swine Flu (H1N1) cases recorded across the country. According to the ministry, a number of cases have already entered the Intensive care unit (ICU).

Even though the statement did not provide any figures, the increase cannot be compared to the one in 2009 when there was a global pandemic. Since that time, the virus is yet to be completely eradicated but the level incidence on a global scale has settled.

One of the recently reported cases of the Flu was a toddler who was diagnosed at the state hospital in Southern City of Sidon. The hospital made their confirmation that the toddler was indeed suffering from the Swine Flu but she was getting the appropriate treatment under the coverage of the ministry of health.

What is H1N1 VIRUS?

H1N1 is also called Swine Flu due to the fact that the virus is similar to that found in pigs. Today, this virus is a seasonal Flu virus found in human beings. Even though it often circulates in pigs, you cannot get it when you eat properly cooked pork or pork products.

How do you catch H1N1 virus?

Just like a regular flu, you can get it when the people having the virus sneeze or cough and spread tiny drops of the virus into the air. In case you come in contact with these drops, or touch a surface where the drops landed or touch something that an infected person had previously touched you get infected. Those people with the virus can spread it a day before they have their first symptoms. Even more 7 days after they get sick. Children can be contagious for as long as 10 days. However, unlike what the name suggests, you can never get the virus by eating Pork or pork products.

Symptoms Swine Flu symptoms are the same as seasonal flu. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Running nose or stuffy nose
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Just like the regular Flu, swine flu can lead to more serious problems which include lung infection, pneumonia and other breathing problems. The Flu can also worsen illnesses like diabetes and asthma. However, it is imperative you note that not everyone having the Flu will have a fever.

How is Swine Flu Diagnosed?

Swine Flu is definitively diagnosed by identifying the particular antigens associated with the virus type. This test is often done in a specialized laboratory and is not done with many doctors’ offices or hospital laboratories. However, the office of the doctor can send specimens to specialized laboratories if need be.

How is H1N1 treated?

Some of the antiviral drugs used to treat the seasonal flu also works on this flu. Some of these drugs will include Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab), and zanamivir ( Relenza) are some of the drugs that work best. However, it has been noted that some kind of flu happens to be resistant to oseltamivir. These drugs are reported to work well when you take them the first 48 hours after noting the symptoms even though they can also work if you take them later. Over the counter pain killers and cold and flu medications can help relieve the symptoms. However, ensure you do not give aspirin to children under the age of 18 since they are at the risk of getting Reyellls syndrome.

How to Prevent

The best way to prevent swine flu is by getting the regular flu vaccine, which protects you against seasonal flu. You can get this as a shot or as a nasal spray. Either way, this shot teaches your immune system to identify and attack the real virus. Apart from the shot, there are number of ways you can help to prevent the infection. A good example is you can follow the everyday steps to help keep yourself healthy during the flu season.

With the sudden increase in the number of Swine Flu cases, it is highly advisable for the Lebanese citizens to go for a vaccine shot. People are also advised to take the general health precaution by maintaining high levels of sanitation, and report in case they note some of the signs and symptoms indicated above. Remember, it is better to prevent than to cure.