Kw-logo-smaller

More About Swine Flu: Fact & Fiction Edition

Different Strains Of Flu Virus

Swine flu is making headlines all over the world. It's also making lots of people worried about what might happen next. So what is the truth about swine flu? We answer the questions real kids want to know most.

How Did Swine Flu Start?
Swine flu started in Mexico when a virus in pigs infected a person. It’s thought that two different types of viruses combined together in the pigs to create something that didn’t exist before now – that’s why the epidemic is only breaking out now. This sort of thing happens all the time in nature when different viruses combine together, and sometimes the new virus can infect people, but most times it doesn't.


What Causes Swine Flu?
Swine flu is caused by a virus. Viruses are tiny – so small you can't even see them under a normal microscope. They cause illnesses we know about like colds, measles and chicken pox. The virus that causes swine flu is really similar to the virus that causes the type of flu people get in the winter, what we call “human flu.”


What Are The Signs Of Swine Flu? How Can You Avoid It?
Swine flu causes symptoms just like any ordinary flu that affects people each winter. You get a cold, maybe a sore throat. You might feel hot, have a headache or generally feel a bit achy or tired. It only lasts a few days. You can lower your chances of catching any flu virus – human flu or swine flu – by washing your hands plenty of times each day with soap and water and not touching your face.


Can You Get Swine Flu If You Haven't Been To Mexico?
So far most of the people who have got swine flu caught it while they were on holiday in Mexico because there is a lot of the virus there right now. In time, as the virus spreads, people in different countries could start catching it from each other, but there is only a very small chance of that.


Why Is It So Difficult To Contain The Outbreak Of The Flu?
The flu is spread between people through the air. Because we all share the same air that we breathe, it can spread quite easily. Also, because sometimes people who have the virus don't feel very sick until a few days after they catch it, they can pass it on to other people without knowing.


If We Do Get It How Easy Is It To Rid Of?
When you get infected with the flu virus, it only stays in your body for a few days before your own immune system fights off the virus and kills it. The hard part is that during that time you might have passed it on to the next person – that’s how the virus survives, by going from person to person.


Why Isn’t There A Vaccination For It? What If You’ve Had a Regular Flu Shot – Are You Safe?
It isn’t believed that the normal flu vaccine will work against this particular strain of the virus because it does not look exactly like what has been going around in people up until now. A special vaccine needs to be made for this virus, and work has started on that already. It might take a few months but should be ready before the fall when we really need it.


Is It Safe To Travel By Plane During This Outbreak? What Can We Do To Protect Ourselves While Traveling?
It is safe to travel on planes. But just like everywhere else you can help protect yourself against catching the virus in a crowded place by washing your hands with soap and water a lot and not touching your face too much. If you find yourself coughing or sneezing, be sure to do it into a tissue and then throw the tissue away.


How Many People Are Expected To Get Swine Flu?
It’s hard to say right now. Even if the virus does spread, most people will only have mild symptoms – like having a cold – or not even know they’ve been infected at all. Only a tiny proportion of people who get swine flu will likely die from it – most healthy people who catch it will only experience a mild cold or mild symptoms. In fact, a few people do die from the normal human flu every single year (mostly people with weak immune systems, like elderly people or people who are very sick with different diseases that weaken or destroy the immune system), and experts don’t think the swine flu will be much different.


If The Swine Flu Gets Out Of Hand, Will Everyone Be Vaccinated?
Giving people a vaccine against a virus like flu is the best way to protect them. It’s hope that in the next few months a vaccine to protect people against swine flu will be made. Once that happens people will be asked whether they want the vaccine, and giving it out in schools might be one way to get it to kids quickly.


Swine Flu Is A Pandemic On Level 5 – Does This Mean It Will Kill A Lot Of People?
The pandemic alert level 5 means that the World Health Organization thinks it’s quite likely that this virus will spread around the world and affect a lot of different countries. But most people will only have a mild cold if they catch the virus and only a tiny proportion of them will get or feel any sicker than that.


If I Feel Sick Now Does It Means I Have The Swine Flu?
Right now the only people that have swine flu are people that went on holiday to Mexico and caught it there. So it’s really unlikely that you actually have swine flu. We all get colds and flu sometimes, and you have most likely just caught a normal cold virus. But the symptoms you have are not unlike what you might get if you had swine flu, and chances are you will get better in a few days – just like a regular human flu. If you’re really worried or feeling really sick, you should, of course, tell your mom or dad or go see your doctor to ask what you can do to get better more quickly.


Related Stories:

  • Treat Your Cold Or Flu At Home
  • The Facts On Mad Cow, SARS And More!
  • Immunizations 101
  • Overview Of Colds And Flu

  • >
    >

    readers voted!

    Comments

    there are 0 comments

    Please login or register to add comments

    share with your friends


    Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


    like this article?
    get more just like it in your email

    Poll

    Favorite Cold or Flu Remedy?

    • Orange juice.
    • Chicken soup.
    • Honey-lemon tea.
    • Nyquil.

    related stories

    latest videos

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    Brianna09
    I would never be allowed.
    reply 30 minutes
    Kirsteeeeen
    Kirsteeeeen posted in Style:
    It'd be easier to picture it if I could see the shirt. xD But chances are it'd look good. Put the lace or bows on the shirt without sewing it on and see how it looks :p
    reply about 1 hour
    emilyly
    emilyly posted in Family Issues:
    Of course you are not pregnant!!! If you just started having period, it is irregular and in the beginning can look quite strange. Don't worry! But i think you should talk with your mum, go to the doctor to check if everything is ok inside of your body and simply to have support from her.
    reply about 3 hours
    emilyly
    emilyly posted in Family Issues:
    I can imagine how hard it can be but the faster you will talk with them, the less pain you will feel. Of course it all depends on what kind of parents you have but don't give up just because they are religious. I know many people who are strongly religious but also open-minded.
    reply about 3 hours
    -BlueSkies-
    -BlueSkies- posted in Style:
    I got this shirt and it has open shoulders. I really like it, but kinda want to cover it a bit. Like sew lace or bows where it's open. But I'm not sure if it'll look good or not. Any suggestions?
    reply about 16 hours

    play online games

    Candy-100

    A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

    1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

    Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

    100x100_ra_logo_girl

    Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

    _thumb_100x100

    Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...

    _thumb_100x100

    We have all played the famous game Sudoku, now play it online with this Classic ...