Yes, swine flu is deadly, no denying that. The H1N1 virus traveled to all parts of the world at an amazing pace, and did not differentiate between countries, continents, race, age, color, economic situation, etc. The recent H1N1 outbreak in 2009 got the whole world into a panic situation. There was chaos everywhere with regards to the facts and myths about this virus. Different people said different things, which added to the confusion in everyone's minds. As a result, there are quite a number of swine flu myths that are doing the rounds even now. So let us take a look at some of them here, and also some important H1N1 swine flu facts, and clear our minds about this contagious disease.
Pork Consumption Increases Risk
One of the most common swine flu myths is that the consumption of pork and pork products can lead to this viral infection. This is absolutely untrue, and the reason this myth is popular is because the H1N1 strain is also commonly found in pigs. The only thing to be kept in mind is that the pork needs to be cooked well before it is eaten, and if this aspect is taken care of, it will pose no risk whatsoever.
Face Mask Provides 100% Protection
During the height of the outbreak in 2009, everyone was seen wearing a face mask. Yes, this was necessary especially when there was so much of uncertainty around everywhere, but it should be noted that a mask is in no way 100% effective in protecting an individual from swine flu. More important than wearing a mask in public places, proper hygiene is very important. All this put together protects us to a greater extent against the virus, but not completely.
Senior Citizens/Children at Higher Risk
The general conception was that small children and the elderly are at a greater risk of catching this flu. But the fact is that an individual of any age is equally vulnerable to this disease. Age is in no way an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to the resistance of the body against this deadly flu, unlike many other diseases in which the age-factor plays and important part.
Healthy Means Safe
Yes, it is important to be healthy and hygienic, and that will increase our protection against H1N1. But it is wrongly believed that only those who are already sick and weak have a chance of contracting swine flu. If statistics are checked, most of the fatalities from this disease have been of those individuals that had completely normal health before being infected. So yes, stay healthy and fit, but that should not let you keep your guard down.
H1N1 Symptoms
Most people believe that the symptoms of swine flu are much more deadlier that normal influenza. But the truth is actually quite the opposite. The symptoms of both variants are largely the same, such as fever, cold, cough, throat infection, etc. The differences between swine flu and regular flu are minimal, and the only difference one might want to be aware of is that H1N1 is more contagious than normal flu. A point to note here is that, even without a fever, an individual can get this H1N1.
Relapse Not Possible
It is widely believed that once a person has been affected by the H1N1 virus, and cured, he/she cannot get infected by this virus again. Absolutely false. In no way are you immune from H1N1 after you have been cured from it. This virus easily mutates, and so there is always a possibility of getting it again, though it has been proven that the chances are very less, but definitely not zero.
Vitamin Protection
People were led to believe that extra vitamin intake would boost their immunity against this viral disease. But this is not the case. What is needed is following a healthy diet along with a better protein intake that is required for the body. Again, along with a good diet and overall health, hygiene is what plays the most important role in staying away from this disease.
Resumption of Day-to-Day Activities
It was commonly believed that a person who recovered from swine flu could venture back into the outside world as soon as he/she felt better. But once you are cured, you need to stay at home for at least a day without any swine flu symptoms (without medication), and then only think about getting back to work or school. This is a very important step for the patient and also for others that will be in future contact with the individual.
Pets Not at Risk
We were all under the assumption that our pets were not at any risk from this killer flu. But that is not the case. Our dear cats and dogs at home are vulnerable too, and for this even their surroundings and diet needs to be taken care of in an equally serious manner like we would do for ourselves.
Repeat of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
The 1918 Influenza Pandemic was one of the worst disasters man can remember. It lasted for 2 whole years, but in that short span of time, somewhere like 500 million people were infected and around 50 million people died. Now even though this is the same strain, times are different, the situation is different. Modern technology, better hygiene and lifestyle, and availability of much better medical care, will in no way allow present times to see a repeat of that era, in terms of infections and fatalities.
More Deadly Compared to Normal Flu
This is completely untrue. Seasonal flu kills and continues to kill more people around the world that we can imagine. Take for example the United States, where on a yearly basis, nearly 40,000 people lose their lives to seasonal flu. Swine flu will never affect the number of people as seasonal flu does, and fatalities are even more contrasting.
Even though H1N1 cannot be taken lightly, it was the hype that was created which added to the fright and confusion among the masses all over the world. I hope all this information on the swine flu facts and myths has addressed your concern about this flu to your satisfaction, and gotten you rid of the swine flu phobia. Bottom line being, stay healthy, be cautious, stay happy!