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Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza viruses, often seen in the winter months, and can show itself with the same symptoms as seasonal flu.

Influenza viruses are divided into types A, B, and C according to their antigenic structures. Influenza C virus is a rare agent that mostly causes upper respiratory tract disease. Influenza A and B are virus types responsible for epidemics.

Why Is It Called Swine Flu?

The reason why H1N1 is called swine flu is that the virus is very similar to the virus that causes flu in pigs and is a mutated form of this virus. As a result of this mutation, the virus gained the ability to pass from pig to human and cause disease.

How is it found?

The H1N1 virus is transmitted from person to person through droplets, but the role of surfaces in transmission should not be neglected. The virus can survive outside the body for 2 hours. Contamination can occur even if the person touches their eyes, nose and mouth after touching surfaces such as tables, door handles, toys that contain large amounts of virus. Post-infection period of the virus (incubation period) is 1-4 days. 24-48 hours after the onset of the disease is the period when the contagiousness is highest, then it may decrease and last for up to a week.

What should be done to be protected?

The disease is most common in January-March. For this reason, the American Pediatric Association recommends that children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years be vaccinated in October-November. Patients with risk factors (such as going to a nursery, having a brother or sister going to a nursery, having diseases such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, innate immune system deficiency) should especially be vaccinated. The vaccine is not administered to infants under 6 months of age. If it is to be done for the first time, it is recommended to do it 2 times with 1 month intervals, and to continue as a single dose in the following years. Up to 3 years of age, half dose is applied, and after 3 years of age, full dose is applied.

In addition to getting vaccinated, some precautions should also be taken to prevent children from catching the flu.

Keeping children away from sick people,

Covering your face with the inside of your arm when coughing or sneezing

Frequent hand washing

Not to be in closed, crowded environments during the months when flu is common,

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamin C

Regular sports are other precautions that can be taken.

Is there a cure for the H1N1 flu?

Antibiotics have no place in the treatment of the flu. Fluid intake is very important during the illness. Therefore, water, juice and decaffeinated beverages are recommended. Drinking enough fluids helps the secretions in the sinuses and chest to accumulate less and be cleared from the body more easily. Painkillers can be used to relieve symptoms such as fever and muscle pain in the treatment of flu, antiviral drugs that your doctor deems appropriate can also be used in cases of serious illness, but cold medications should not be used, especially in children under the age of 6.

If the child's condition worsens following the flu symptoms, fever, chills, chest pain, rapid breathing, sweating, green or bloody sputum, bruising on the lips or nails, the nearest health institution should be consulted.

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