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Over 300 people have tested positive for the Swine Flu (H1N1) virus from around the country in the last 3 months.The H1N1/09 virus is a variation of the swine flu virus which doesn't spread from swine. The virus is extremely contagious. The virus enters the body through the respiratory tract. The tips for prevention include those that prevent contact with the virus, those that prevent its spread from the respiratory tract to blood.
Preventing contact with the virus:
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of swine flu.
Preventing the virus from spreading from the upper respiratory tract:
Currently, injectable H1N1 vaccines are available in the market Influvac, Agrippal, Vaxigrip, Vaxiflu-S and Fluarix. There is an intranasal vaccine called Nasovac, produced by Pune's Serum Institute last year but it is not in production now. The injectable forms cost around Rs.600-700 per dose. The doctors advise people to get a repeat vaccine dose every year.
Swine flu is diagnosed by identifying the particular antigens associated with the virus type. In general, this test is done in a specialized laboratory and is not done by many doctors' offices or hospital laboratories. However, doctors' offices are able to send specimens to specialized laboratories if necessary.
Prevention is always better than cure. However, if one is infected, there are certain antiviral drugs which help. Zanamivir (Relenza) and Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) have been successful in treating patients with Swine flu. One should take these only with a doctor's prescription since indiscriminate use could lead to resistance to the virus.
The patient will need to hospitalized, isolated and put on a ventilator in severe cases.
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