Swine Flu also denoted as H1N1, is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. This is a highly infectious disease that can spread even through bare minimum contact with a person infected with H1N1 virus. When infected people cough, spit or sneeze, tiny drops of the virus are released into the air.
If you touch any surface on which these droplets have landed, elevator buttons, door knobs, flush knobs, etc., you can catch H1N1 swine flu. Swine Flu has claimed about 191 lives in Mumbai and as many as 1,772 people have tested positive for the contagion in the state so far this year. This is alarming!
The city is seeing afrightening rise in the number of Swine Flu cases; keeping this in mind, it is imperative that people identify early symptoms of this infection and seek appropriate preventative care before it’s too late. Some of the basic things people should understand about this deadly infection are as follows:
WHAT TYPE OF POPULATION IS MORE SUSCEPTIBLE?
Additional care and precaution are essential for:
- Children less than 6yrs and senior citizens above 65yrs
- Pregnant women
- Individuals who have undergone a transplant
- Individuals undergoing Dialysis
- Individuals on drugs to improve/ boost their immunity
- Individual suffering from chronic diseases
HOW TO IDENTIFY THE EARLY SYMPTOMS?
H1N1 symptoms are very close to the symptoms of common flu, and therefore it is very important to differentiate between the two. Symptoms of Swine Flu are as below;
– High grade fever lasting for more than three days
– Persistent cough &cold
– Coughing blood
– Difficulty in breathing
– Nausea and vomiting
– Runny nose
– Weakness and fatigue
PREVENTIVE STEPS: Follow these preventive steps to stay away from the flu.
– Stay hydrated
– Avoid crowed places
– Wear N95 mask while traveling (available at medical stores)
– Consume high protein foods
IN CASE YOU ARE RECOVERING FROM FLU:
– Consume at least 2-3 liters of water or fluids (juices, soups etc.) each day
– Avoid flavored vegetables like capsicum, cabbage etc.
– Avoid deep fried food
– Include probiotic food
– Cut down on sugar intake & processed food
– Consume home cooked food
UNDERSTAND THE TREATMENT
One should avoid taking over the counter medicines if you notice the symptoms of Swine Flu. You should immediately contact your nearest doctor or an Infectious Disease Specialist. One will have to take a vaccination through injection or nasal sprays (If you are allergic to eggs).
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Some antiviral drugs that are commonly used to treat seasonal flu also work against H1N1 swine flu. These drugs work best when taken within 48 hours of spotting the flu symptoms.
(Disclaimer: Writer is Dr Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist & HIV Physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund & Kalyan. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)