Swine flu or H1N1 has already claimed over 800 lives in India, including
several deaths in Gurgaon and Delhi NCR. However, doctors say educating citizens adopt some simple, expedient yet useful techniques can go a long way in keeping the virus from spreading further.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms, maintaining at least a meter distance from the infected and avoiding crowded places can keep the virus from spreading person to person.
Apart from displaying informative posters, doctors at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon are communicating to most of the patients visiting the hospital, be it for any medical indication, about H1N1 and educating them about the preventive discourse.
“We have decided that all the patients who visit our hospital, for whatever reason, need to return completely informed about the swine flu prevention measures and symptoms. It is extremely important to remember that the contracting routes for the H1N1 virus are the nose and the mouth. Therefore the key to prevent the disease is to make sure one does not inhale the virus through these two routes,” says Neeraj Gupta, Sr Consultant Pulmonology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon
Apart from all people who are required to maintain hand hygiene, a lot of the responsibility of preventing the spread also lies on the person who is infected. The key is to never take the signs and symptoms lightly.
“If you wake up one morning with flu symptoms like high temperature, cold, cough, running nose and pain in muscles and joints, make sure you keep away from other people and at no cost go to work or to study. Avoid crowded places so as not to infect anybody else and stay at home and contact your physician. Your physician will decide the need of HINI test as mentioned in the government guidelines. One should leave the diagnosis to the doctor and not get scared. However sitting over the disease and self medicating is only not a wise option.” adds Dr Rajesh Kumar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon.
Even if we deliberately avoid crowded places like cinema halls, malls and markets, we cannot stay back from travelling to work each day. As we move across the city, taking the public transport, we tend to come in direct contact with a large number of people. At the same time, we come in contact with objects that an infected person might have touched on his/her way. For example, seats in buses, metros, handles, door knobs, tables, public toilets etc.
While one cannot avoid touching all these objects as we move, we can certainly make sure that we do not touch our nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Hence hand hygiene is the single most important aspect of protection against swine flu as is the isolation of the infected patient , adds, Dr Rajesh Kumar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon.
Washing hands thoroughly with soap several times a day, carrying a hand sanitizer and using it as and when required is important. You should discard the same after every two hours. The napkins and the tissues should be safely disposed inside a dustbin. Avoiding handshakes are other ways that can minimize your risk of acquiring the infection.
Also important is washing your face thoroughly and cleaning and blowing your nostrils intensely the moment you return home.
“People who are at higher risk should consider vaccination in consultation with their doctors. The high risk bracket includes young children, the elderly, people with respiratory diseases, and others who have a weak immune system,” adds Dr Dr Rajesh Kumar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon.
The H1N1 virus originated from pigs, hence the name swine flu. However, the prevalent strain is a mutation of the original virus and unlike the original it doesn’t need animals to spread. It spreads from human to human like other common influenza strains. This is why people who work in crowded places and come in contact with several people every day are at greater risk of contracting it.
Measures to Follow:
•Washing hands multiple times a day with soap and water
•Not touching eyes, nose or face with unwashed hands
•Avoiding hugging and shaking hands
•Boosting immunity by consuming fruits, vegetables, vitamin c
•Avoiding crowded public places like cinema halls, markets, recreational spots
•Cover your nose and mouth with a napkin when you sneeze or cough
•Dispose your napkins quickly and safely in dustbins
One should lead a normal but aware life. If you are aware of the signs and symptoms you can take important steps to safeguard yourself and your family.