There has been a sudden spike in the cases of Swine Flu across the country. Also, known as H1N1, it is caused by a type of Influenza A virus, that has a unique characteristic of mutating every year.
The main way to prevent Swine Flu is to get vaccinated even before the onset of winter. The symptoms of H1N1 mimic regular flu signs like fever, sore throat, chills, diarrhea, vomiting and may require hospitalization in few cases.
Swine Flu is highly contagious and can be serious if not treated on time. It spreads through sneezing, coughing, through touching germ-covered surfaces, door knobs, saliva and mucus.
If patient with H1N1 sneezes or coughs, it spreads virus into the air and it settles down in the air we breathe, land and on surfaces. A person who gets into contact with these areas can get infected immediately.
Take the following precautions to contain the spread of Swine Flu.
A seasonal flu vaccine cannot prevent the Swine Flu. H1N1 vaccine is separate and it must be administered every year and it would take 4 to 6 weeks’ time to start working. So, take vaccine even before there is an outbreak of Swine Flu.
Stay At Home:
If you are affected by Swine Flu, stop stepping out. Hospitals quarantine inpatients suffering from H1N1 as it is highly contagious. Do not interact with family and friends till all the symptoms subside completely.
Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing with a tissue or napkin. Wash hands with antibacterial hand cleaners, avoid touching eyes, nose. Do not get into touch with sick people, infants, children and elderly as they lack immunity to fight Swine Flu.
Talk to your medical practitioner about the prescribed medicines for Swine Flu. In India, many state governments are supplying medications like Tamiflu, Oseltamivir and if you have a child at home, ask for pediatric composition.
If you suffer from trouble in breathing, blue or grey skin colour, vomiting, disoriented, running high temperature, it’s time to visit an emergency room for immediate medical intervention.
Don’t Rely Only On Facemask:
If you thought, a facemask will help you in preventing H1N1, you are wrong. It is not clear how a facemask can help in avoiding the transmission of influenza. If you wear a mask, do not wear the same one again and again. Use it once and throw it away.
Keep Surfaces Clean:
H1N1 virus can settle down on tops, countertops, doorknobs, utensils, linens etc, so don’t forget to clean the surfaces with household disinfectants. If you have handled dirty laundry, wash hands with soap and water.
Being panic and anxious won’t help you anyways. Seek medical intervention if you feel symptomatic, visit a doctor, avoid travelling. Pregnant woman, infants, patients with chronic conditions, weak immune system are high at risk.