What is swine flu?

Swine flu, also known as H1N1 influenza, is an infection caused by a virus that's related to two viruses that occur in pigs, one that occurs in birds and one that occurs in humans.

It can be spread from human to human through coughing or sneezing. Unlike seasonal flu, which tends to affect people age 65 and older most severely, swine flu occurs primarily in people under 25. It causes symptoms similar to those of seasonal flu, including fever, sore throat, cough, headache, body aches, chills and fatigue, and possibly vomiting or diarrhea.

"Swine flu" is the original name given to the flu virus that began circulating the world in 2009. This is a new strain of flu, a mix of swine, avian and human influenza viruses. Public-health organizations now call the virus H1N1 or say "type A influenza" and the year 2009 when referring to this flu. In spite of its name, swine flu is not spread from pigs to humans; rather, it is transmitted the same as seasonal flu, through people coughing and sneezing. The symptoms for both seasonal flu and H1N1 are similar: fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy or runny nose, headache, body aches, chills and fatigue. Patients with H1N1 or swine flu also might experience vomiting and diarrhea. Protect yourself by covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, washing your hands often and staying home when you feel sick.

Continue Learning about H1N1 (Swine Flu)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.