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Is it swine flu or just seasonal flu? Expert answers

Swine flu can be mistaken for some other conditions. Read to know more.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : August 10, 2017 4:37 PM IST

The cases of swine flu are increasing at an alarming rate. And one of the reasons why there has been an increase in the mortality (death rates) of swine flu this year is the delay in diagnosis. Moreover, the fact that swine flu is often mistaken for viral fever or seasonal flu is what makes the matter worse. So when asked about how swine flu is different from regular flu and what are the symptoms that can be mistaken for swine flu, here is what Dr Pradip Shah, HOD and General Medicine specialist at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai had to say. Here are 17 common swine flu questions answered.

The symptoms such as body pain, runny nose, headache and fever are few of the common symptoms of seasonal flu that are seen. As swine flu is also a type of flu, most of the symptoms of swine flu are the same as that experienced by seasonal flu. However, there is a slight difference between seasonal flu and swine flu. When it comes to swine flu the symptoms are more severe and tend to remain for more than 4-5 days, which is not the case with the flu. So you have a high fever, severe body pain and muscle pain along with cough and headache. Another key feature of swine is that one of the initial symptoms is a runny nose, which later might cause throat irritation and sore throat. Also, most people tend to ignore the symptoms such as cold, cough and fever, thinking it could be due to change in temperature or seasonal changes. As cough and cold are attributed to an underlying lung disease or a respiratory health, swine flu is also mistaken for lung disease, respiratory illness and viral fever, in addition to seasonal flu. Read to know about swine flu: Are you at risk?

When it comes to diagnosis, the doctors suspect swine flu when similar cases are reported from the area and the symptoms are far more severe. So if swine flu is epidemic or semi-epidemic in a particular area, then you might be prescribed to undergo PCR test to diagnose swine flu, which is done through a throat swab. As you can get the results in 6 - 12 hours, once swine flu is diagnosed, the treatment is started immediately. So if you have any symptoms of swine flu, do consult your doctor and don't self-medicate or wrongly diagnose it as seasonal flu or viral fever. Also read about 15 precautions every Indian should take to prevent swine flu.

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