Down with a cold? It could be swine flu!

Down with a cold? It could be swine flu!

Cold and swine flu

While high-grade fever was considered to be the first sign of swine flu during the last epidemic, the same no longer holds true. A common cold may be an indicator that you are suffering from swine flu.

Swine flu or infection with the H1N1 virus is on the rise again. The symptoms it produces are very similar to the symptoms of common cold.

High-grade fever, runny nose, sore throat, body ache, loss of appetite, and weakness are all symptoms of swine flu.

The reason for this change in the first presenting symptom is not yet known. Doctors say this is due to the various mutations that the virus underwent since the last epidemic.

This time around it is not just a runny nose that is showing up as the presenting symptom. Diarrhea has also been reported in several cases.

The doctors advise you to get in touch with them as soon as you feel you are coming down with the flu, no matter what the presenting symptoms are. It could after all be swine flu and it is best to be safe.

The doctor will recommend certain tests to rule out H1N1 infection. These include a throat swab or a nasl swab and some specialized tests that detect the specific antigens to the viruses and also the viruses themselves by identifying their DNA.

Ignoring your symptoms or ‘self-diagnosing’ them as common cold can be dangerous, say doctors. If you happen to have swine flu, treatment for it with the drug called oseltamivir (Tamiflu) needs to start at the earliest. Once the virus is well settled in the body, the drug may lose its efficacy and lead to dangerous resistance.

So, stop being too casual about your cold. With swine flu raising its ugly head all around the country, you need to be all the more vigilant.

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