Last Updated: January 08, 2023, 14:56 IST
H1N1 Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses that wreaked havoc when their spread was uncontrolled. You might think you have only lived through one pandemic, but you are wrong. In fact, you survived two pandemics. H1N1 Influenza was also a pandemic that claimed anywhere from 1 lakh to 5 lakh lives worldwide in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While both respiratory illnesses are caused by different viruses, it is important to note that the two share some similarities. Knowing exactly what these conditions are, their similarities, and their differences can help you prepare better. Read on to find more:
What Is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets and aerosols. Other than that people can also be infected by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or through the asymptomatic spread. There is a gradual onset of symptoms. Depending on the variant people can start showing these 2 to 14 days after coming in contact with an infected person. The treatment plans include supportive care and FDA-approved antiviral remdesivir. There are several vaccines available for prevention.
What Is H1N1 Influenza?
This respiratory infection started with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. Similar to COVID-19, the transmission is through respiratory droplets and aerosols, as well as coming in contact with contaminated surfaces and asymptomatic spread. However, unlike the coronavirus pandemic, the symptoms of H1N1 Influenza appear suddenly after 1 to 4 days of coming in contact with an infected person. It also has several vaccinations developed as preventive measures. The treatment plans include supportive care and FDA-approved antiviral medications like oseltamivir.
How Are The Two Different
H1N1 Influenza is less contagious than COVID-19. While its infection spreads faster in terms of falling sick, that is it shows symptoms from day 1 of coming in contact with an infected person. However, the spread was not as much in terms of people that were infected. The H1N1 flu saw about 3 lakh people infected in the first year of its beginning as opposed to about 20 lakh recorded cases of COVID-19 in the same span of time. Additionally, COVID-19 is more likely to cause serious illness than the 2009 H1N1 influenza. The former has also led to more deaths worldwide.
How Are The Two Similar?
Both viruses present pretty similar symptoms. These are fever, chills, fatigue, cough, body aches and pains, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and digestive symptoms. People who are 65 years or older or younger than 5 years old are more likely to be at risk. Pregnant and people with certain underlying health conditions are also likely to be at risk. Furthermore, there are common risks of complications that include pneumonia, worsening of underlying health conditions, secondary bacterial infections, as well as respiratory failure. Other complications involve injury to the kidneys or liver, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and sepsis.
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