Flu Swine Diagnosis

Many people are overwhelmed when they find out that they are diagnosed with the swine flu, or H1N1 influenza. The media onslaught of swine flu has provoked fear in the general population. Although it is true that the swine flu may wreak havoc as a pandemic strain, the actual statistics are not as alarming as predicted. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for the week of November 22-28, 2009, the number of deaths continued to decline and a sharp decline of positive test samples was observed.

When a swine flu diagnosis is given, it may not be accurate. This is because in general, physicians will diagnosis the swine flu based upon the following factors:

  • Proximity to local outbreaks
  • Sick contacts
  • Timing
  • Your symptoms.

The only way to know for sure if you are infected with the swine flu is to have a swab test sent to specific labs, such as the CDC. Currently, the accepted protocol reserves these special tests for those at high-risk, including pregnant women and the immunocompromised.

The symptomatic treatments for both the seasonal flu and swine flu are the same, so definitive diagnosis is not important.

What to Do if You are Diagnosed with Swine Flu?

First of all, do not panic. Most people have had the flu before and know what to expect, including:

  • Aches
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sneezing.

These symptoms are annoying but are appropriate for your body to have as it is fighting the viral infection. Your doctor may recommend medications to alleviate the fevers, body pains, and respiratory symptoms.

The normal incubation period for seasonal influenza is from one to four days. The incubation period for swine flu is unknown but is characterized as being longer, from one to seven days. During this incubation period, a person is most infectious, as the virus is being shed in respiratory secretions, such as from:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sniffling.

You should avoid contact with other people, especially those in high risk groups. Make sure that you follow clean hygiene habits to avoid the spread of the swine flu.

It is recommended that you take enough days off of work to avoid further transmission of the flu. Initial onset of swine flu symptoms occur around 48 hours of infection. The illness may last from three to seven days, with fatigue and coughing that could last more than two weeks. Use your best judgment to make sure that the infection does not spread to others in your family or workplace.

Complications of the Swine Flu Diagnosis

If you are not recovering from an influenza infection, or your symptoms get worse, then you may be suffering from complications of the flu. The elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are most susceptible to complications of the swine flu. These complications may worsen the illness and can cause respiratory failure and even death. When encountered, the best advice is to seek prompt medical attention.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. (2009). H1N1 flu and you. Retrieved December 4, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/qa.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. (2009). Influenza vaccinations: A summary for clinicians. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/Flu/professionals/vaccination/vax-summary.htm.

Reed, C. Swine flu data show hysteria unjustified. (2009). Retrieved December 5, 2009, from the San Diego Tribune Web site: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/05/swine-flu-data-show-hysteria-unjustified/.