Health Advisory on Swine Flu

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

The Health Department has issued a health advisory on the Influenza (Swine Flu) for the common masses.

The Department has maintained that Influenza or flu is a common contagious illness that spreads every year from October through winter. The symptoms of the same are cough, fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue cough, headache and a runny or stuffy nose. In children, it can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Most people will have only a mild illness but in some cases, it can cause serious disease and even death.

The flu can make some people much sicker than others. These people include young children less than 2 years, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease, nervous system disorders, or a weakened immune system.

The virus of the flue according to the advisory spreads from person-to-person. It is transmitted as easily as the normal seasonal flu and can be passed to other people by exposure to infected droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled, or that can contaminate hands or surfaces. The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus to when symptoms begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.

The precautions suggested by the Health Department against the flue include, covering nose and mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing, to throw the tissue in the trash after its use, wash hand oftenly with soap and water, especially after cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. Clean hands save lives. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. In case of sickness, the patient should stay at home to limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

According to the advisory most of the people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. In case of sickness with flu symptoms, in most cases the patients should stay at home and avoid contact with others except to get medical care. However, in case of symptoms of flu the patient should immediately contact the doctor. The fast breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion, are the signs of influenza and in such cases immediate medical attention is required. The older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. People with diseases like asthma, neurological conditions, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, diabetes, patients with chronic kidney or liver disorders, patients with a weakened immune system such as those suffering from AIDS, cancer or those are on steroids can have complications due to the flu and need special care and attention.

The Department of Health is keeping a close watch on the disease by getting information from all the district and tehsil headquarters on a daily basis about the number of cases of respiratory tract infection. There is daily surveillance for OPD patients and hospitalized cases. The data is collected and analysed for any anomaly. Clustering of cases is investigated and samples are collected and treatment is provided on the spot to the affected. The Department of Health is providing necessary healthcare to the patients, especially with symptoms of flue.

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