How contagious is Swine flu?

The regular ordinary seasonal flu we experience every year is something we have got used to and do not fear. However, another virus that has caused concern around the world and in spite of symptoms similar to any ordinary flu is Swine flu. The first cases appeared in April 2009 in Mexico and spread to other countries like US, Spain, France and have of late been creating panic in other countries like India, New Zealand, and Australia and so on.

Why has it become a pandemic and why is it creating such panic? The question that comes to our mind is that “is swine flu contagious?” According to Health Protection Agency (HPA) it is highly contagious and very easily spreads from person to person.

Reports published of research in New Zealand suggest that it is even more contagious than previously thought. Every person with swine flu can pass it to two other people on an average. Its spread is similar to ordinary colds and flu. The droplets that come out of nose and mouth when anyone with the flu sneezes or coughs are the source. If that person does not cover nose or mouth, anyone within one meter (three feet) may be affected.

The flu virus may also be transferred when an infected person touches objects like door handles, hand rails, keyboards and virus is transferred to that surface. If you touch that surface and touch your face the virus can enter into your system and you can become infected.

Studies undertaken to find out ways to keep the contagious swine flu under control have very interesting facts. On hard surfaces the virus usually lives for about 24 hours and for about 20 minutes on soft surfaces. A person may spread the infection to other soon after they develop symptoms. Normally the symptoms are similar to ordinary flu, like fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, headache, runny nose and chills.

The virus may spread for up to five days. In case of children it may be up to seven days also. Thus what is required is to take precautionary measures like personal hygiene habits, use of medical face masks and so on which can help prevent easy transfer of virus. Those people who are infected should avoid direct contact with family and friends for five days once the symptoms start. It is better to avoid public transport and ensure that you seek medical advice and follow it.

There is a need for effective bactericidal cleaners to help kill the contagious swine flu virus. A novel technology is use of cleaners like cationic polymers i.e. ones which are positively charged. The viruses are negatively charged. Cationic polymers may provide protection from microbes by electrostatic attraction of microbes. Smittstopp spray seems to be the only disinfectant cleaner available at the moment that can kill viruses and bacteria in a second. It can be sprayed on any surface like in public places which can be carriers of such virus. Most cleaners and sprays are anionic.

However the Smittstopp when sprayed on an area to be cleaned leaves a molecular thin layer of positively charged polymer. These attract virus like that of swine flu. The cationic polymers have the potential to be effectively used to avoid contamination. It may be effective on protective material, medical devices, cleaning and personal hygiene products filter material and so on.

Swine flu is contagious and ample care needs to be taken to prevent it from spreading. Smittstopp spray may be a very good cleaner that may help in reducing contamination and spread of virus due to contact with items of public use.