Seasonal Flu vs. Swine Flu

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Difference between Seasonal Flu and Swine Flu

Seasonal flu has always been a bothersome yet generally not life threatening illness that everyone has had to face at some time or another. In most cases, seasonal flu clears up on its own in a few days with nothing more than traditional home remedies. Swine flu is a new matter however, and that particular strain may degenerate into more serious complications. Here is a look at the differences between seasonal flu and swine flu, also known as the dreaded H1N1.

Seasonal Flu
Swine Flu

Symptoms

People afflicted with seasonal flu and swine flu often display strikingly similar symptoms, and both illnesses are characterized by fever, coughs, sore throats, runny noses, aches and pains, chills and fatigue. The most significant difference is that sufferers of swine flu will often have to deal with diarrhea and vomiting as well, which rarely happens with seasonal flu patients. While the range of symptoms of swine flu appear to have maintained status quo, health authorities now believe that the disease will continue to affect more and more people in the years to come, simply because it is a newer strain.

Prevention

Since the viruses responsible for seasonal flu and swine flu enter the body through the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth, frequent washing of the hands will go a long way in preventing the diseases. Also keep in mind that while the commercially available alcohol-based hand sanitizers are better than nothing when soap and water isn't readily available, they aren't really suitable for use on visibly dirty hands. You could also avoid catching and/or spreading the disease by covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and by avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible. Traditional wisdom as it applies to the seasonal flu also makes sense, and you should probably just stay home if you feel that you are coming down with something.

Vaccination

Most health experts recommend that you get children between 6 months and 18 years old vaccinated for seasonal flu every year, regardless of whether or not they show signs of the condition. In most cases, they will be given a flu shot as well as a nasal spray flu vaccine. Keep in mind however that the seasonal flu vaccine will NOT give you any protection against the swine flu. 2010 saw a good deal of controversy regarding the H1N1 vaccination safety. Parents all of the U.S. were resisting the urge to get an H1N1 vaccine due in some part to doctors on major news shows revealing that they would not get this vaccine for themselves or their families but also largely due to Internet sources strongly cautioning people to stay away from it. From all of the hype about the fatality of the H1N1 virus, the comparisons to the seasonal flu fell short of its predictions. Each year in the U.S. more than 41,000 people die from the flu, while in 2009 less than 17,000 people died from H1N1.

Summary

Seasonal Flu

  • Characterized by fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue
  • May be prevented by frequent washing of the hands
  • Vaccine offers protection when administered to children aged 6 months to 18 years old
  • Yearly vaccination is recommended

Swine Flu

  • Characterized by fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue as well
  • More likely to cause diarrhea and vomiting in children
  • Does not cause serious flu symptoms in children in most cases
  • May infect a lot more people than seasonal flu
  • May be prevented by frequent washing of the hands as well
  • Cannot be prevented by seasonal flu vaccine 

Which flu is more dangerous?
  • Seasonal Flu
  • Swine Flu
 
 

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