If you had flu, it most likely was swine flu

By admin
19 June 2015

Most people falling ill with flu is infected with influenza A H1N1, referred to as swine flu, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has told Health24.

Cases of the N1H1 flu strain have been reported at schools in Cape (Durbanville) and Durban, sending parents and the public into a state of panic.
'It is not a pandemic anymore and no longer called swine flu'

However, there is no need for alarm, according to NICD medical epidemiologist Dr Sibongile Walaza, who said the institute has been seeing cases since May when the flu season started.

"What is important to note is that influenza A H1N1, known as swine flu, is now part of our seasonal strain and it was part of it since 2012", she told Health24.

"H1N1 isn't any more severe than any other strains. It is not a pandemic anymore and no longer called swine flu."

Walaza explained that when the H1N1 strain was seen for the first time in 2009, it was referred to as a pandemic partly because the virus shifted from pigs to humans.

"With any pandemic strain, they brand you when they come in, they circulate for a while and then they become part of the normal spectrum of seasonal influenza, which is what happened to the H1N1 pandemic strain."

NICD recommends that getting vaccinated is the safest and the best way to help prevent influenza, which is a contagious respiratory illness that may be transmitted through the air via vapour droplets in sneezes and coughs. Although April and May are the best times to get vaccinated ahead of the flu season, it's not too late to get it right now.

The vaccination will not make you sick (other than a sore spot at the sight of the injection and/or some mild fever and aches for a day or two), and take two weeks before it provides any immunity against the current strains.

Some of the symptoms of influenza include having a high fever with chills, cough, sore throat, blocked nose, sweating and shivering, muscle aches and pains and fatigue.

People more vulnerable to getting the flu are the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, lung disease and heart disease.

Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot, and groups of people who should be very cautious about getting the shot include people with egg allergies; people who have had Guillain-Baré Syndrome (GBS), which is a rare, paralysing condition; and those who are already ill and have a fever.


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