Swine Flu: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Medically Reviewed by:Dr. Monika Agarwal
Swine Flu: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Swine Flu: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Swine Flu: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatment


Swine flu is a subtype of influenza A virus known as H1N1 flu. This contagious viral disease causes infections in the upper and, potentially, lower respiratory tract. Swine influenza symptoms may vary from person to person; some may develop mild to severe symptoms, and some may not at all. Before exploring symptoms, causes, and diagnosis, let's first delve into the virus's origins.

The year 1918 witnessed a devastating influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza virus, commonly called the Spanish flu. This global outbreak affected an estimated 500 million individuals worldwide, accounting for approximately 3% to 5% of the global population. The devastating consequences of the Spanish flu resulted in the unfortunate loss of 50 to 100 million lives, distinguishing it as one of the most fatal pandemics in recorded human history.

In 2009, a rapid global spread of a new strain called H1N1 swine flu worldwide led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a pandemic. However, unlike zoonotic swine flu, the 2009 H1N1 virus did not originate from pigs and transmit to humans. Instead, it primarily spreads through airborne droplets from person to person and potentially through human contact with contaminated surfaces, facilitating transmission to the eyes or nose. This particular virus exhibited similar symptoms to those observed in swine, possibly resulting from the re-assortment of a viral RNA structure, enabling efficient human-to-human transmission.

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Symptoms of Swine Flu

The symptoms of swine flu (H1N1) closely resemble those of usual influenza. The onset of symptoms typically occurs within a range of three to five days following exposure to the virus. These symptoms include:

Pyrexia (Fever)

High body temperature and sudden chills is a prominent manifestation of swine flu infection.

Respiratory Difficulty

Individuals may experience respiratory distress, including coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and a runny or congested nose.


A general feeling of discomfort, weakness, or fatigue may be present.


Muscular pain and discomfort can occur, affecting various parts of the body.


Persistent or severe headaches may accompany swine flu infection.

Sore Throat

Inflammation and irritation of the throat, resulting in pain and discomfort.


Gastrointestinal Disturbances 

Some individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

In infants and children, the symptoms of swine flu may differ. If one’s baby or child has any of the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away:

  • - Upset stomach
  • - Fever with rash
  • - Difficulty in waking up
  • - Inadequate fluid intake

One to four days after being exposed to the virus, one starts to experience swine flu symptoms.


Causes of Swine Flu

Swine flu, also known as H1N1 influenza, is primarily caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. This virus is a subtype of the influenza A virus that affects pigs (swine). The transmission of swine flu to humans can occur through direct contact with infected pigs, usually in agricultural or occupational settings. However, in some cases, the virus can also be transmitted from person to person. It spreads from person to person. When an individual coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets are released into the air. Inhaling these droplets can result in the transmission of the infection. Additionally, if a person comes into contact with a contaminated surface and subsequently touches their mouth, nose, or eyes, they can acquire the infection. Swine flu (H1N1) exhibits contagious properties, enabling its spread from person to person.


Diagnosis of Swine Flu

The diagnosis of swine flu (H1N1) is typically conducted by a healthcare provider through various methods. A physical examination will be performed, and the patient will be asked about their symptoms. To confirm the presence of the flu virus, the healthcare provider may request a swine flu test, which can detect multiple strains of influenza.

If individuals are experiencing symptoms indicative of swine flu (H1N1), it is crucial for them to seek a reliable diagnostic center that can provide accurate results. In this regard, B. Lal Labs emerges as a premier choice. With our team of diagnostic experts and a commitment to utilizing the latest technology and advanced equipment, we ensure that swine flu tests are conducted with utmost precision. By entrusting our diagnostic services, individuals can have confidence in receiving dependable results from B. Lal Labs for the detection of the H1N1 influenza virus.

The swine flu test results can be categorized as either positive or negative. A negative result indicates the absence of swine flu infection, suggesting the possibility of having a regular seasonal flu or another respiratory illness. Conversely, a positive result indicates the presence of the H1N1 virus, confirming the individual has been infected and necessitating appropriate treatment measures.


Treatment of Swine Flu

To combat swine flu the most recommended treatment is getting the H1N1 swine flu vaccine

The most widely recognized and effective method of treatment for swine influenza is receiving the H1N1 swine flu vaccine. In September 2009, the FDA authorized the administration of the new swine flu vaccine. Extensive studies conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) demonstrated that a single dose of the vaccine produced sufficient antibodies to provide protection against the virus within a span of 10 days. However, it is important to note that individuals who have previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to the influenza vaccination should avoid receiving the H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

The management of swine flu in infected patients varies based on the severity of symptoms. For individuals with mild to moderate influenza, home-based treatment is typically recommended. This includes ample rest, maintaining oral hydration, and administering symptomatic relief. Over-the-counter antipyretics like paracetamol can help reduce fever, while antihistamines are effective in alleviating nasal congestion and rhinitis. Headaches and body aches can be addressed with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or paracetamol. It is important to follow the guidance of healthcare professionals and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or complications arise.

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