Swine flu and regular flu are both types of illness caused by different strains of the influenza virus. Regular flu is generally of types A, B or C, whereas swine flu is a strain (H1N1 virus) that is said to have originated in pigs.

Comparison chart

Regular Flu versus Swine Flu comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartRegular FluSwine Flu
Overview Regular flu or influenza may be caused by RNA viruses belonging to the family Orthomxoviridae. Swine flu (also known as pig influenza, hog flu or pig flu) is caused by a family of viruses that is endemic to pigs.
Strains The strains that cause are Influenza virus A, B and C. The known strains that cause swine flu include subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2.
Symptoms Fever, chills, sore throat, body ache, headache, coughing, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and discomfort. Fever, chills, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, sore throat, headache, and discomfort.
Prevention and Control Vaccination Vaccination
Treatment Anti-viral drugs such as neuraminidase inhibitors and M2 protein inhibitors. Prescription drugs like Tamiflu or Relenza.

History

Influenza virus has been known to infect humans throughout history. The most lethal (Spanish flu) pandemic that lasted from 1918-1919 reportedly killed between 2 and 20% of those infected; much more than the mortality rate of regular flu. Other less severe pandemics include the 1957 Asian flu, Hong Kong Flu, and the most recent 2009 flu pandemic.

Swine flu is known to have targeted humans during the 1918 flu pandemic. In the following year, new strains appeared and are responsible for causing the outbreak of swine influenza in North America. The most recent pandemic of swine flu was reported in 2009, and countries had to take several precautionary measures to curtail this pandemic.

Transmission electron microscope (TEM) image of a recreated 1918 influenza virus
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Transmission electron microscope (TEM) image of a recreated 1918 influenza virus

Virus Strains

Regular flu or influenza may be caused by RNA viruses belonging to the family Orthomxoviridae. The strains generally seen are Influenza virus A, B and C. Influenza A affects birds and humans. Influenza B virus affects only humans. Influenza C virus is seen to infect humans, dogs and pigs.

Swine flu (also known as pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu or pig flu) is caused by a swine influenza virus (SIV) or swine-origin influenza virus. The known strains that cause swine flu include subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2.

Symptoms

The symptoms of regular flu include fever, chills, sore threat, body ache, headache, coughing, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and discomfort. In more serious cases, regular flu may lead to pneumonia.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to regular flu, and patients suffer from fever, chills, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, sore throat, headache, and discomfort.

Prevention and control

Vaccination against influenza virus is recommended especially to the high risk groups of elderly people, children or immno-compromised individuals. Vaccines are generally made to be effective against multiple strains. Effective ways of controlling the infection include, good hygiene, washing hands frequently, no touching nose, mouth and eyes, sanitizing infecting areas, may help control this infection.

Swine flu can also be curbed by vaccination and infection control. Vaccinations against swine flu can pose certain problems due to the constant evolution of the viral strains. Prevention of infection from pigs to human can be done by wearing gloves and overall maintaining hygienic conditions while handling sick animals. Human to human transmission can also be prevented by frequent washing of hands, covering your mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing, and sanitizing infected areas.

Treatment

Treatment for influenza includes paracetamol (commonly known as acetaminophen in the US)for relieving fever and body ache. Anti-viral drugs such as neuraminidase inhibitors and M2 protein inhibitors can also be effective against this virus.

Vaccinations prevent the spread of the virus in animals and humans. Though, there is not much you can do to totally prevent the infection, antiviral drugs can reduce the symptoms and make it milder. Drugs that can be prescribed include Tamiflu or Relenza. Besides that, supportive care at home, rest, intake of plenty of fluids can help relieve symptoms and feel better.

References

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"Regular Flu vs Swine Flu." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 3 Dec 2016. < >