Aug 15, 2009

Protect yourself from - SWINE FLU

Published Under Hot news ->"Public Health"

What is swine Flu :

First thing first swine flow is not a new disease and this is now the first time human being are affected by it . Neither is this first time an influenza pandemic is haunting us L ( search of Spanish flu to know more ).Its just another variant of Influenzavirus A.The other types being -

You may click on this Link to know more about RNA virus and mutations .

The present pendemic is caused by virus that is usually found in Pigs- H1N1 . The other variations ie mutations of Type A include :

H1N1, H1N2, H2N2, H3N1, H3N2, H3N8, H5N1, H5N2, H5N3, H5N8, H5N9, H7N1, H7N2, H7N3, H7N4, H7N7, H9N2, H10N7

Like any influenza , H1N1 spreads via body fluids . Saliva , Nasal secretion , faces and blood .Common symptoms of influenza infection are fever, sore throat, muscle/joint pains, severe headache, coughing, and weakness and fatigue.

What Swine Flu is not :

Its not the seasonal influenza .

Most people will not have immunity against it , like seasonal flu .

Its not a death sentence .

According to WHO The severity of the disease ranges from very mild symptoms to severe illnesses that can result in death. The majority of people who contract the virus experience the milder disease and recover without antiviral treatment or medical care. Of the more serious cases, more than half of hospitalized people had underlying health conditions or weak immune systems

Prevention :

Be alert and rush to a doctor if your fever persists for more than 3 dayz .

For individuals who are well:

refrain from touching mouth and nose;

perform hand hygiene frequently, by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand rub, especially if touching the mouth and nose and surfaces that are potentially contaminated;reduce as much as possible the time spent in close contact with people who might be ill; reduce as much as possible the time spent in crowded settings; improve airflow in your living space by opening windows as much as possible

For individuals with influenza-like symptoms:

stay at home if you feel unwell and follow the local public health recommendations;

keep distance from well individuals as much as possible (at least 1 metre);

cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, with tissues or other suitable

materials, to contain respiratory secretions. Dispose of the material immediately after use

or wash it. Clean hands immediately after contact with respiratory secretions!

improve airflow in your living space by opening windows as much as possible.

Should I Wear a Mask ? :

Since the disease spreads via nasal fluids you MUST wear a mask when meeting patients .For regular life its recommended you may .

The recommended mask is : N-95 respirators .

While people may use usual surgical masks , cloths or even N95 mask we must remember Face Mask help in preventing the does’t guarantee anything .The other case with Masks is -Quoting WHO :

If masks are worn, proper use and disposal is essential to ensure they are potentially effective and to avoid any increase in risk of transmission associated with the incorrect use of masks. place mask carefully to cover mouth and nose and tie securely to minimise any gaps between the face and the mask while in use, avoid touching the mask- whenever you touch a used mask, for example when removing or washing, clean hands by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based handrub replace masks with a new clean, dry mask as soon as they become damp/humid do not re-use single-use masks - discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removing.

Vaccine :

There is no vaccine developed for H1N1 swine flu yet .Its supposed to be available by Sept 2009 .Another thing evidence suggests that it is unlikely that seasonal influenza vaccines will be protective against the new pandemic virus” WHO.

Available Laboratory tests:

Rapid Antigen Tests: not as sensitive as other available tests.

  • RT-PCR
  • Virus isolation
  • Virus Genome Sequencing
  • Four-fold rise in swine influenza A (H1N1) virus specific neutralizing antibodies.

High-risk group :

  • As per IMA ,its defined as ,
  • resident of institutions for elderly people and the disabled;
  • people with certain chronic health conditions (chronic heart or lung disease, metabolic or renal disease or immunodeficiencies);
  • elderly people and very young children.

Treatment :

First thing first : NO self medication of over the counter antivirus please.

The treatment advised by WHO for swine flu is an antiviral drug called Oseltamivir ( branded TamiFlu ).

Since this is declared epidemic recently . As of now only Govt approved agencies should administer treatment (private clinics should be allowed soon).

Please find the List of Government Approved list of Hospitals in India for treatment of Swine Flu .

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