By: Dr. Neha Tank Modha M.D.Ph.D. (Ayu)& Joban Modha M.D.(Ph.D.)

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Swine influenza (also called H1N1 flu, swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu) is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus. Swine influenza virus (SIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs.[1] As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

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 influenza, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection. The meat of an infected animal poses no risk of infection when properly cooked.

The Swine flu has been compared to other similar types of influenza virus in terms of mortality: "in the US it appears that for every 1000 people who get infected, about 40 people need admission to hospital and about one person dies".[2]. There are fears that swine flu will become a major global pandemic in the winter months, with many countries planning major vaccination campaigns. [3]

Influenza is quite common in pigs; the main route of transmission is through direct contact between infected and uninfected animals. [4] People who work with poultry and swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at increased risk of zoonotic infection with influenza virus endemic in these animals, and constitute a population of human hosts in which zoonosis and reassortment can co-occur.[5] Other professions at particular risk of infection are veterinarians and meat processing workers, although the risk of infection for both of these groups is lower than that of farm workers.[6]

Main Signs and symptoms of swine flu:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in humans the symptoms of the 2009 "swine flu" H1N1 virus are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The 2009 outbreak has shown an increased percentage of patients reporting diarrhea and vomiting.[7] The 2009 H1N1 virus is not zoonotic swine flu, as it is not transmitted from pigs to humans, but from person to person.

The most common cause of death is respiratory failure, other causes of death are pneumonia (leading to sepsis) [8], high fever (leading to neurological problems), dehydration (from excessive vomiting and diarrhea) and electrolyte imbalance. Fatalities are more likely in young children and the elderly.

Prevention of Swine Flu

According to Ayurveda, prevention is always better than cure, and the primary aim goal of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of a healthy person. As stated: “Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam…” here are the few preventive measures according to modern science and Ayurveda.

Prevention of swine influenza has three components:
prevention in swine,
prevention of transmission to humans,
and prevention of its spread among humans.

The current trivalent influenza vaccine is unlikely to provide protection against the new 2009 H1N1 strain,[9] so the control of swine influenza by vaccination has become more difficult in recent decades. But you don’t worry even if you are not vaccinated. Start practicing Pranayama, especially “hot Pranayama like Bhastrika and Kapalbhanti”! This will improve your lungs capacity and immunity to combat any infections from the viruses.

Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food but it spreads between humans through coughing or sneezing and people touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth.[10]

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