No reason for panic, treat H1N1 as just another flu, say experts

  • Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 05, 2015 10:08 IST

With more than 40 cases reported and also one person succumbing to it, influenza A H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, seems to be turning into a health scare.

However, health experts claim there is no cause for concern, and it should be treated like any other seasonal influenza. “Indian Medical Association (IMA) endorses the views of WHO and ministry of health, government of India, that there is no need to panic and swine flu should be treated like any other normal flu,” the association informed through a statement.

Swine flu is like ordinary flu, symptoms of which are fever, cough, sore throat, bodyaches, and malaise. Occasionally, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and rashes may also be present.

According to the experts, the drop in temperature has led to increase in the number of cases but they will drop once the weather clears out.

Also, less than 30% of those infected would actually require hospitalization as in most cases symptoms can be managed at home. And those who do get hospitalized largely fall sick due to underlying medical conditions that the person might be suffering from that compromised their immunity.

Flu is diagnosed when a person suffers from cough and cold. Only sore throat is not a sign of flu. Flu patients don’t require antibiotics. Unless cough and cold is associated with breathlessness one doesn’t require hospitalisation.

“One does not need to panic as the virus strain is not a virulent one and behaves like any other seasonal influenza that has a self-limiting nature. The situation is not as worrisome as it was in 2009,” said Dr Charan Singh, Delhi government’s nodal officer for swine flu. “Routine screening has also been stopped as most people have developed anti-bodies against the virus. However, there is no harm in taking preventive measures,” Dr Singh said.

Prevention mainly involves implementation of the respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene.

Respiratory hygiene involves maintaining a distance of at least 3 feet from the person who is coughing and snee zing. Cough etiquettes involves covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze and put the used tissue in a waste basket. If one does not have a tissue one should cough and sneeze into the upper sleeves and not hands or handkerchief.

Hand hygiene can be performed by washing hands with soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand rubs. If hands are visibly soiled they should be washed with soap and water.

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