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Swine flu is a respiratory infectious disease that is caused by an influenza (flu) virus. The strain of virus that causes this type of influenza is known as the H1N1 virus. This type of flu was first recognized in the spring of 2009. Swine flu causes symptoms such as fever, cough, chills, headaches, nasal congestion, diarrhea, fatigue and nausea. Many viral diseases and bacterial diseases cause similar symptoms to swine flu.
Doctors use a variety of tests and diagnostics methods to confirm the presence of swine flu. Swine flu is an infectious disease, it is transmitted through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Swine flu is treated like other viral diseases. It is treated using a class of medications known as anti-virals. If a person is infected with swine flu is left untreated the disease may cause dangerous complications. Pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis and respiratory failure are all possible complications of untreated swine flu. It is an uncommon occurrence but this infectious disease can be fatal if left untreated.
Young children, the elderly, healthcare workers, people who live in crowded facilities (prisons, nursing homes), people with chronic medical conditions, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and healthcare workers are at increased risk of developing swine flu and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend taking a few precautions to stop the spread of influenza. The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months receives an influenza vaccine. Ways to stop the transmission of this infectious disease include frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, and avoiding crowds when you are sick.