The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with live flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. People with infection are contagious as long as they show symptoms and upto 7 days following the onset of illness. Young Children may be contagious for more number of days.
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. But there are antiviral medicines like oselatmivir and zanamivir (brand name Tamiflu) for treating this infection. Vaccine against Swine Flu virus H1N1 are under development stage and will be ready only after 4-5 months in India.
Who are at high risk?
People at higher risk of serious complications from seasonal flu include people age 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people who are taking immunosuppressive medications, infected with HIV.
Protect yourself from the virus
We can protect ourselves from the virus to a certain extent by maintaining personal hygiene.
* Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can spread this way.
* Avoid going to crowded places if it is not urgent.
* If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill.
If you are living in a place where there is are many cases of swine flu, and if you are worried about your symptoms including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may contact your doctor and take further steps according to the doctor's advice.