There has been a lot of talk about pig flu lately. We'd like to take this opportunity to bring you some up to date swine flu info.
Pig flu, or swine flu, actually refers to a number of flu viruses that pigs get. Some of these viruses can also be caught by humans. It is possible for humans to catch the flu from pigs, but it doesn't happen very often. Most of the time, people get swine flu from other humans, not from pigs.
The available swine flu info tells us that swine flu can be deadly. Of course, the regular flu can be deadly, as well. The truth is that many cases of swine flu are just mild cases and the symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of the regular flu. There have been some reports suggesting large numbers of Americans will die in the flu season from swine flu, but the CDC says that is actually unlikely, though it is possible.
It important to take steps to prevent getting pig flu, since it can be a serious illness. A swine flu vaccine has been approved and the latest swine flu info tells us that it is expected to be available about October 15, 2009. The vaccine will consist of two shots, taken a couple weeks apart. It will then take a couple weeks to actually develop immunity to the virus, so people will not actually be immune until some time in November.
Getting vaccinated is a good idea, but since you could be exposed to pig flu before you develop immunity, you should take other precautions as well. If possible, avoid contact with people who are sick. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can't wash (washing is better, though). Wipe down common surfaces like telephones and doorknobs with rubbing alcohol or a mixture of bleach and water.
There is a homeopathic remedy called Instant Immunity that helps protect you from getting the flu. We'll tell you more about it in a moment.
Treatment for pig flu is basically the same as treatment for the regular flu. The available swine flu info tells us, though, that in most cases swine flu will actually clear up on its own without any treatment. Still, there is treatment available that can speed the recovery process and help relieve symptoms.
There are antiviral medications that help speed the recovery process. They are available by prescription only, so see your doctor if you have the flu and want to try them. They may have some side effects, like nausea and vomiting, confusion, and skin reactions. Antibiotics don't help with the flu, because the flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria.
There are plenty of over-the-counter flu remedies available at your local drug store or grocery store. These don't cure the flu, but they relieve the symptoms. You can also just take Tylenol or ibuprofen for fever. Because there are so many different over-the-counter remedies available, you might want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which would be the best choice for you. Be careful about taking a bunch of different over-the-counter remedies at the same time, as they could interact with each other.
Some people prefer to use natural products to prevent and treat the flu. Natural products don't carry the risk of side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs carry, and are often more effective.
See your doctor in the fall if you want a swine flu vaccine. Ask your doctor about what is swine flu and for the swine flu facts. If you develop flu symptoms, you may want to see your doctor to ask about antiviral medication. You should definitely see a doctor if you have a very high fever, if your flu symptoms last longer than one week, if you have trouble breathing, or if you have any pre-existing conditions.
More about pig flu on
our main swine influenza page
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