H3N2 influenza in India; tips to prevent infection while playing Holi
Ahead of Holi, a new virus H3N2 has become a cause of concern in India with its rapid spread. Here are precautions you must follow during the festival of colours to prevent infection.
Holi celebrations have already begun in many parts of the country and the preparations for festival special food menu from gujiya, malpua, kheer to dahi vada as well as shopping for gulal, abeer, pichkari, are on in full swing. While Holi is all about keeping your everyday stress aside and soaking in the festive and colourful spirit of the festival, a new virus H3N2 has become a cause of concern in India with its rapid spread. It is thus important to not only take care of your skin and hair during the festival, but also follow social distancing measures to prevent from the infections. If you suffer from any of the symptoms from fever, respiratory symptoms like cough and runny nose, or body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea, you must consult your doctor and start medication. (Also read: H3N2 Influenza: Symptoms, treatment, precaution and all that you need to know)
"Skin and hair issues in the festival of colours are not going to be the only concern this year as a new virus H3N2 has been spreading all over India, due to the rapid shift in weather from cold to warmer temperatures. The increase in the number of patients complaining of viral infections and chest congestion demonstrates how seasonal change is having a negative influence on people's health. Pollution is also playing a significant influence in increasing the number of patients affected by viral diseases. With Holi coming into the picture, the elderly, children, and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to infection. As a result, they must exercise extreme caution while celebrating Holi. Apart from asthmatic patients, there are many additional individuals who have serious lung infections and are having difficulty breathing they need to be extra careful as they can inhale the colours which can cause serious harm to their health," says Dr. SK Chhabra, Head of Department - Pulmonary, Primus Hospital, New Delhi.
"During Holi, even small respiratory problems must be reported to a pulmonologist or a physician to avoid the condition from worsening. Similar to seasonal flu virus H3N2, other viruses are also in circulation, including H1N1 and adenoviruses and these infections can cause fever, respiratory symptoms like cough and runny nose, as well as other symptoms including body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea," adds Dr. SK Chhabra.
Keeping skin and hair concerns in mind Dr. Navya Handa, Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist at Primus Super Specialty Hospital suggests some useful tips such as a few hours before playing Holi, you should apply oil to your body and hair – you may use coconut or almond, or olive oil. "In addition, you should apply a good sunscreen on your face and any exposed skin. It hydrates the skin and reduces the number of colours absorbed by the skin and hair. Tie your hair instead of keeping them open so that there is less space for chemicals to get to the scalp," says Dr Handa.
PRECAUTIONS TO FOLLOW DURING HOLI FOR PREVENTING FLU SPREAD
These measures will help prevent the flu and limit its spread:
1. Wash your hands frequently: Always and extensively clean your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if neither is available.
2. Cover your coughs and sneezes: Use a tissue or your elbow to sneeze or cough into if you must expose others to your germs. Do a quick handwashing.
3. Don't touch your face unnecessarily: Don't touch your face too much; that includes your eyes, nose, and mouth.
4. Clean surfaces: Keep frequently touched surfaces clean to avoid picking up the virus from them and spreading it to your body.
5. Avoid crowd: If at all possible, avoid congested areas. Keep your distance from those who are ill. You should avoid swine barns at seasonal fairs and elsewhere if you are at high risk of problems from the flu because of your age (younger than 5 or 65 or older), your health (pregnant or have a chronic illness like asthma).