Mysuru: Swine Flu or the Influenza A (H1N1) flu, an acute respiratory disease of the pigs, is caused by one of the numerous swine influenza A strains and is highly contagious, Dr. Satish Kumar M G, Consultant Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Mysore.
For the last 15 days, the district authorities have intensified their campaign on H1N1. The campaign will be taken up in schools and colleges across the district. The PHCs have also been told to create awareness in this regard. Across the district, till October 31, 27 positive H1N1 cases have been reported. Last year, that is, from January to December, among 930 samples, the total number of positive H1N1 cases were 255. In the last two months, that is November and December, not even a single case was reported. This year, that is, from January to October end, across the district, 27 among 435 samples tested positive.
“The swine influenza virus can be transmitted to humans via contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine influenza viruses. The transmission of the virus is from person-to-person and is similar to the manner in which seasonal influenza spreads. The typical incubation period found for influenza is 1 to 4 days, with an average of 2 to 3 days. The symptoms of this form of viral infection include sore throat, chills, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort like those of influenza. However, some individuals with swine flu have shown serious respiratory illness, including pneumonia or respiratory failure leading to death. Persons suffering from chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes etc., and pregnant women are at higher risk for complications from swine flu. People with fever and mild respiratory symptoms should call their physician for guidance. People who are seriously ill should seek medical attention immediately through an emergency room or other set up. This includes people with shortness of breath, confusion, dizziness or alterations in consciousness. Small children may not be able to describe their symptoms and parents should look for signs of rapid breathing, bluish skin or reduced level of responsiveness, which should prompt immediate medical attention”, added Dr. Satish.
-The best way to prevent the spread of swine flu virus is by washing hands frequently and avoiding patients having flu-like symptoms.
-Simple measures have been shown to reduce the risk of transmission of influenza. These include frequent hand washing with soap and water or disinfection with alcohol.
-People should try to avoid touching their face or mucous membranes.
-The influenza virus can live for about two hours on the contaminated surfaces.
-During coughs and sneezes, mouth should be covered with a tissue or a sleeve.
-In areas with large numbers of cases, it is best to minimise unnecessary exposure to crowds.
-Sick people should stay at home whenever possible.
However, wearing basic face masks cannot protect people from being infected.
-The swine flu vaccine is different from the seasonal flu vaccination that’s offered every year.
-The seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against swine flu.
-If you are usually advised to have the seasonal flu vaccination, you should have it.
-You may be offered the swine flu vaccine as well.