The virus is spread in the same way as seasonal flu, it is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when a person coughs talks or sneezes. The average sneeze travels at around 80 miles per hour, and can cover distances of up to thirty feet.
These droplets can hang in the air and land on surfaces, where they can survive for up to 24hrs, any one touching these surfaces can spread the virus by touching other objects and surfaces such as food, door handles, telephones remote controls, hand rails computers ect. People usually become infected when they pick up the virus on their hands from contaminated surfaces and then placing their hands near the mouth or nose. The virus can also be airborne and when suspended in the air a person can breathe the virus in.
Scientists and doctors now know much more about the swine flu and how to prevent it spreading. Many cases of swine flu have been mild, with symptoms very similar to the seasonal flu. A small number of people have had more serious symptoms which have required hospitalization. It is important for people to understand the symptoms of swine flu so that it can be treated from a very early stage. People at higher risk of complications include:
- persons aged 65 and older
- children younger than five years old
- pregnant women (especially during the third trimester)
- Persons with underlying medical conditions these include asthma, copd diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease.
- weakened immune system (e.g. taking immunosuppressive medications or persons with HIV)
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to other influenzas. If you have a fever or a high temperature 38 degrees or over and have two or more of the following symptoms you may have swine flu.
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Unusual tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath or cough
- Aching muscles
- Diarrhoea and vomiting.
It is advised that you keep a working thermometer and know how to use this as an increase in temperature is one of the main symptoms of swine flu. It is important to remember that other conditions can cause the same symptoms. A rapid test can be offered, but a negative test does not mean that you do not have flu; results will depend on the collection method and how much viral sample a person is shedding at the time of testing. A laboratory test will confirm if you have swine flu or not.
If you think you may have swine flu during your holiday in Pafos and would like further information on rapid testing please contact our surgery in Pafos where our medical staff will be happy to help. Our team here in Pafos medical24 centre are fully up to date with recent developments treatment and advice on the H1N1 influenza virus.