Swine flu threatens to make a comeback in KZN

Consider having this year’s flu vaccine administered in a bid to ward off contracting it.

Swine flu has reared its head again in Amanzimtoti, three years after the first cases were reported, South Coast Sun reports.

The H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, is a respiratory disease caused by a particular influenza virus strain.

READ MORE: Pretoria east toddler loses battle with swine flu

The disease adopted the name ‘swine flu’ because of its similarities to a flu strain found among pigs. Symptoms are often similar to that of the usual flu, and when the disease emerged locally in 2015, South Africans were urged not to panic should they learn they had contracted it.

Western Cape health department spokesman Mark van der Heever said in 2016 that swine flu was part of SA’s seasonal strain. A swine flu diagnosis requires a medical diagnosis after clinical testing.

There are two recent cases at Kingsway Hospital, according to a patient who has been hospitalised as a result of the severity of her symptoms. Kingsway Hospital was approached for comment to confirm this but no response was forthcoming.

Renae Botha (56) of Warner Beach was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, May 2, with what she and the doctors originally thought was a bad case of flu. “I was on antibiotics, but it wasn’t getting any better, and I just felt worse,” she said from her hospital bed a week later, on Wednesday, May 9.

Renae was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, May 4, before doctors confirmed it was swine flu. “It started with flu-like symptoms and headaches. It seemed like I couldn’t get rid of the flu.” Renae said she travelled through Transkei a month ago, and may have contracted the virus there. She is currently in high care, but hopes to be discharged on Friday, May 11.

Some people are at higher risk for becoming seriously ill if they’re infected with swine flu. These include:

  • Adults over age 65;
  • Children under five-years-old;
  • Young adults and children under age 19 who are receiving long-term aspirin (Bufferin) therapy;
  • People with compromised immune systems (due to a disease such as AIDS);
  • Pregnant women;
  • People with chronic illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, or neuromuscular disease.

Swine flu is very contagious. The disease is spread through saliva and mucus particles. People may spread it by:

  • Sneezing;
  • Coughing;
  • Touching a germ-covered surface and then touching their eyes or nose.

The symptoms of swine flu are very much like those of regular influenza. They include:

  • Chills;
  • Fever;
  • Coughing;
  • Sore throat;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Body aches;
  • Fatigue;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Methods for managing the symptoms of swine flu are similar to the regular flu:

  • Get plenty of rest. This will help your immune system focus on fighting the infection.
  • Drink plenty of water and other liquids to prevent dehydration. Soup and clear juices will help replenish your body of lost nutrients.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers for symptoms such as headache and sore throat.

Consider having this year’s flu vaccine administered in a bid to ward off contracting it.

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