The Union Health Ministry reveals that there have been over 6,200 cases of H1N1 influenza across India over the past six weeks. Studies show that there has been an increase in figures from recent years. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) explains that the virus causing illness is the same that of the previous year. Experts however point out that the infection should be seen as just another seasonal flu.
The main symptoms of this viral infection are sore throat, body pain, fever, cough and head ache. It is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets. Under standard guidelines of treatment and diagnosis, patients with high fever and sore throat and those who are above 65 years should be treated with anti-viral medicine. Pregnant woman and people with serious heart, liver and lung ailments need medication too. If someone is suffering from breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness and a drop in blood pressure require diagnostic tests and immediate hospitalization.
Here are some guidelines you should follow to prevent Swine Flu-
Get Yourself Vaccinated: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccination for all people older than six months of age. An H1N1 virus is one part of the seasonal flu shot and it will protect you against two or three influenza viruses. The vaccine is available as an injection or a nasal spray. People above 49 years can take the nasal spray but pregnant women should avoid it.
Seasonal Flu vaccine can’t protect you against Swine Flu. It is best if you can protect yourself by getting both vaccines.
Stay Home if you are Sick: If you have a fever, and the blood test confirms that you have swine flu, then stay at home. There are chances that you will pass on the disease to others even before you start feeling feverish.
Wash Your Hands Frequently: Flu viruses can survive up to two hours or longer on surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. Clean your hand thoroughly with soap or alcohol based liquid sanitizer.
Close Your Mouth While Coughing: Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Always keep a paper towel or handkerchief handy. This will prevent contamination.
Reduce Exposure: If a family member has swine flu, then only one person should be made responsible for his or her care. Others should avoid coming in contact with the ill person.
Stay six feet away from the ill person. This may look rude, but this is no time for courtesy.
Wear a Face Mask: The Center for Disease Control does recommend that people suffering from Swine Flu should wear a face mask to avoid spreading the illness. Those who are taking care of someone should also wear a face mask for protection. Remember you should not reuse face masks, just throw it out after a single use.
This year alone Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and West Bengal have reported deaths due to Swine Flu. A senior health official states that there are several factors that influence variations in mortality. One being a person’s awareness to get himself treated. If you are suffering from fever or flu, visit the doctor immediately. Proper diagnosis and therapy will save your life. After all ‘a stich in time saves nine’ are not empty words.