Swine Flu

What is Swine Flu ? 

Swine Flu is a respiratory disease caused by Influenza viruses (H1N1) that infect the respiratory tract of pigs. 
The virus can be transmitted to humans.

How is Swine Flu transmitted ? 

Swine flu is contagious, and it spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu. 
When people who have it cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops of the virus into the air. If you come in contact with these drops or touch a surface (such as a doorknob or sink) that an infected person has recently touched, you can catch H1N1 Swine flu.
It is not transmitted by eating cooked pork products.

Why is there a concern ? 

India is seeing a rapid rise in the numbers of people affected by Swine Flu. 

Country : Altogether, 8,423 people have contracted swine flu this year in the country. The death toll from swine flu this year has climbed to 585 with 100 more deaths reported across the country in three days since February 12 

State : Since January, a total of 415 people have been affected by Swine Flu and are undergoing treatment, with most of the cases concentrated in Pune and Nagpur. 
There have been over 58 deaths in Maharashtra, making it the third worst affected state in the country. Of the 58 deaths recorded, 35 people died in the first two weeks of February itself, while there have been more than 220 cases in the second week alone, said medical sources. 

City : While only one person from Mumbai may have died of H1N1, in the past two days 11 patients have been tested positive, taking the total toll, across the City to 114. 

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Swine Flu ? 

People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms, and as many as 7 days after they get sick. 
Most symptoms are the same as seasonal flu. They can include:
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in sputum
Who are at Risk ?
  • Health Care Workers
  • People working in crowded public places
  • People suffering from Chronic ailments e.g. chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, etc)
  • Immunosuppression (whether caused by disease or treatment)
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Patients who have had drug treatment for asthma in the past three years
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 65 and over
How is Swine flu Diagnosed ?
  •   Swine flu is diagnosed clinically by the
            i) Patient’s history of association wit​h people known to have the disease 
           ii) Symptoms
Upper respiratory tract specimens (Throat Swabs), as recommended for seasonal influenza investigation, are the most appropriate
  •   Active infection with swine influenza can only be confirmed by Blood Tests viz. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) assays / Viral Culture.
Where are the tests for Swine Flu conducted in Mumbai ? ​

Currently, following Institutes have the facility for conducting tests for Swine Flu
  •   Government Institutes :
              Kasturba Hospital , Sane Guruji Marg, Chinchpokli, Opposite Arthur Road Jail, Jacob Circle, Mumbai – 400011 
              Haffkine’s Institute, Near Wadia Hospital, Acharya Donde Marg, Parel East, Mumbai
  •   Private Institutes :
              SRL Diagnostics 
              Dr Lal Path Lab     
What is the Treatment of Swine Flu ?
  • Rest
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti viral Drug – Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
  • For severely infected patients –  ICU Care, Treatment of associated ailment, Ventilator support
Is Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) available Over The Counter (OTC) ? 

The drug is available ONLY in Government / Municipal Hospitals and Private Hospitals having the facility for screening / treating H1N1. 

Are there any Vaccines available to prevent Swine Flu ? 
However, their efficacy is doubtful as far as the current strain of H1N1 is concerned. 

Who should receive the Vaccine ? 

Use of vaccines is usually indicated in people at risk (as mentioned above) of contracting the infection. 
Vaccines should be taken only if recommended by your Healthcare Provider / Doctor. 

How do we prevent Spread of Swine Flu ? 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand gel
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces e.g. Toilet Flush, Taps, Door Handles) that you touch frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Stay more than an arm’s length from persons afflicted with flu
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food
    DO NOT:
  • Shake hands or hug in greeting
  • Spit in public
  • Take medicines without consulting a physician
What should one do if one has symptoms of flu?
  • The first thing is DO NOT PANIC.
  • If the symptoms are mild, consult your General Physician / Medical Officer for symptomatic therapy and further guidance.
  • Stay at home, if advised by the doctor. Do not travel or go to work or school.
  • Avoid close contact with others for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours whichever is longer.
  • Visit the nearest H1N1 Screening Centre to rule out Swine Flu in case of high level of suspicion.
  • Report to nearest identified health facility if symptoms aggravate (high fever for more than 3 days, difficulty in breathing, blue colour of the skin or lips, blood in sputum or altered behaviour). Small children may be irritable, do not take fluids and refuse to accept feeds.

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