Symptoms and prevention of swine flu

Swine flu has already claimed many lives worldwide. Ever since 14-year-old Pune resident, Rida Shaikh succumbed to the deadly H1N1 flu infection, everyone seems to fear the next outbreak .
Even in Delhi, Sanskriti School was closed down as precautionary measure, after one of its students was detected with Swine flu.

With barely any difference between Swine flu and other type of viral infections, it's difficult to identify this deadly disease. Misinformation floating in the air about Swine flu also adds to the grim scenario.

Here is a low down on the symptoms of Swine flu and the precautions that you should take to be safe, rather than sorry...

Swine Flu is a viral infection and its most common symptoms are fever, running or blocked nose, nausea, chills, cough, soar throat, body ache, weakness and fatigue.

One can also experience respiratory problems and can develop diarrhea in case of Swine flu.

Swine flu is commonly spread through coughing, sneezing or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your nose or mouth.

If you have recently visited a country under Swine flu attack or have met a person suffering from the infection, it is advisable to get a test done.

These days anybody suffering from a prolonged viral infection is high on the suspicious level and should visit a doctor.

How to be safe:
School and college goers and people who go out to work are at a higher risk of contracting the infection. People who live in air-conditioned, closed environments are more likely to catch the disease.

You might be sharing a telephone, computer or books with an infected person. People traveling abroad should also be little cautious.

Use disposable tissues, always cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing, and dispose of your waste carefully.

There is always some virus on tabletops, telephones and computers. So try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth frequently.

Washing and sanitizing your hands frequently is a very effective way of staying away from the infection. Alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers are very efficient in killing these viruses.

There is no restriction on food and drinks as Swine flu is not a food borne illness. Swine flu is transmitted by airborne droplets from an infected person's sneeze or cough; or from germs on hands, or germ-laden surfaces.

Wearing a well-fitted mask in public places is also advisable. But only a mask can’t save you from the disease.

Drink loads of water and get enough sleep. Sleep derivation is an unhealthy habit and can affect your immune system too.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

Stay away (3-feet distance) from people who have a respiratory infection.

Ventilate and allow the entry of sun in the house and all enclosed places.

Make sure areas like the kitchen and restrooms are clean.

If you have already got it:
If you are a confirmed case of Swine flu, then confine yourself to a room. Wearing a mask is a must.

Keep yourself away from social gathering, your work place and other public places, to avoid spreading the infection to others.

Swine flu is most contagious in the initial five days. In the case of children, it can be contagious up to 10 days.

Help At Hand:

All India toll free H1N1 helpline: 1075 or 1800-11-4377

Delhi: Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital: 011-24525211, 23404328, 23365525

Deen Dayal Hospital: 011-2512 5259

Chennai: Communicable Diseases Hospital - 044-25912686.

Coimbatore Medical College Hospital - 09442012555

Kolkata: Infectious Diseases Hospital: 09433392182/ 09434009077

Hyderabad: AP Chest Diseases Hospital: 040-23814939

Mumbai: Kasturba Hospital: 022-23083901, 23083902, 23083903, 23083904

Pune: Dr Naidu Infectious Disease Hospital - 09923130909

Bangalore: Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases - 91-80-26632634

Lakeside Hospital - 80-5360823

(With inputs from Dr. S Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indrapastha Apollo Hospitals and Dr. Praveer Agarwal, Sr. Cardiologist, Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre)

Source: The Times of India

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