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No H1N1 No H1N1

Jan-17-2015 | 0 Comments

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The two swine flu deaths in the city have left behind a trail of question in the mind of residents. Here's what you need to know:

1: How big is the threat? Is the common Lucknowite at risk?

A: Both cases were sporadic and there is no outbreak as such. Therefore there is no need to panic. People with poor immunity, elderly, pregnant women & small children, particularly if they have some underlying illness such cardiac or lung disease, are more vulnerable.

2: How does the infection spread?

A: The virus spreads by human-to-human transmission. When affected patients cough or sneeze, infected droplets get on their hands and other surfaces around them and are also suspended in the air. People around them such as caregivers or medical staff can breathe in contaminated air or touch infected hands or surfaces and get infected.

3: What is the treatment?

A: There's no medicine to treat flu including H1N1. The drug tamiflu shows some effect in initial stages of the disease. However, it also becomes ineffective later. A person is hospitalised to avoid spread of secondary bacterial infections.

4: Should everyone pop in a tamiflu just to be safe?

A: As per the latest protocol, only a confirmed patient is given this medicine. It is not recommended even in immediate family members unless they show symptoms. This is being done to avoid resistance at the time of genuine need.

5: If swine flu is like common flu, why does a person die?

A: All viral diseases lead to a significant dip in the body's immunity level. At this time, the bacteria present in the body become active and attack the system, which is like a further jolt. In case a person is already suffering with some disease, he/she is not able to take the pressure. Often, patients reach doctors very late.

6: How can one differentiate between flu and swine flu?

A: Flu tends to cause fever, congestion and throat pain. But in case of swine flu, congestion would accompany pricking pain in the throat so much so that swallowing would become extremely difficult. Also, if one is coughing, a round of cough would leave behind unbearable pain in the chest. Some patients also feel as if a huge weight has been placed over their lungs leading to breathing difficulty.

7: How can swine flu be prevented?

A: First and most important safeguard: wash your hands frequently. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people having respiratory illnesses.



(Based on a conversation with health department panel comprising Prof Amita Jain (KGMU), Prof TN Dhole (SGPGIMS) & Dr Anand Tripathi (CMO-control room).


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