The effects of swine flu can be considered on several scales: individual, nation, and world.
For the individual infected with swine flu the effects are generally symptoms similar to seasonal flu: chills, aches, fever, congestion, cough, and fatigue. Some swine flu effects cases may be more severe and produce vomiting and/or diarrhea. These individuals can use OTC products to manage discomfort and fever while the body’s natural defenses destroy the swine flu viruses.
A small percentage of individuals may experience more serious effects from swine flu. Serious respiratory problems, uncontrollable or persistent vomiting and diarrhea, and very high fever may all indicate a need for medical intervention. Research has shown that individuals with preexisting conditions—diabetes, obesity, immune deficiencies, etc—are most at risk for severe cases of swine flu. Additionally, pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of a severe case of the swine flu.
On the national level, the effects of the swine flu have been mixed. Public awareness of the possibility of a flu pandemic (which seem to occur between two and three times per century) has vastly increased as a result of the swine flu plus media coverage in recent years of avian influenza or “bird flu.” The national government has created readiness measures to both safeguard against a pandemic and to streamline a response to a pandemic. Ongoing analysis of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic has greatly helped in this area.
Globally, the understanding of pandemic infection and containment patterns has greatly improved. With travel as it is, truly any virulent influenza outbreak is a global problem. In the case of swine flu, most experts agree that the virus mutated and “jumped” from animal to human being in Asia. It was then carried by a human host to Mexico where it spread for months before the pandemic was recognized. Such backtracking of an illness’s development and movement would not have been possible only decades earlier. In addition to improved epidemiology, The consideration of different levels of infrastructure and varying ability to respond to a virus (from medical care to vaccine production) across different countries has been important in addressing swine flu globally.