Swine Flu: Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Swine flu is influenza that had its origin with swine (commonly known as pigs) and is also known as hog flu and swine influenza. Initially thought to have first spread to human populations through swine farmers or those with close contact with sick animals, this disease can be deadly, and the fear of a global pandemic has made global governments stand up and pay attention.

What is Swine Flu?

It is a respiratory disease caused by the H1N1 and H3N2 influenza viruses. Swine flu is essentially normal flu for pigs, and animals do get ill, just as humans do, but the danger arises when there is a transmission of the virus from swine to humans. At that point, once someone is infected by the flu from another species, it can become a major health risk.

It is also the root cause of recent H1N1 scares across the world, and while a lot of preventative measures are in place, swine flu is still a very real threat. The contagious element of this flu is particularly frightening, but the real danger is something from a science fiction movie.



Pigs can harbor both human and avian strains of flu, in addition to their own, which provides the virus with a dangerous opportunity to create a blend of the three that may be impossible (or very difficult) to treat.

In humans, swine flu is transmitted by inhaling or ingesting the virus from discharges when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Contrary to popular belief, it is not transmitted by consuming cooked pork products.


The signs and symptoms of swine flu in humans are just like common influenza infections like the following:

You would usually recover between three to seven days, while more serious conditions would need nine to ten days to see improvement.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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