- So far, over 20 people have died due to swine flu in Punjab state, even as the virus scare spreads throughout the country
- Doctors also recommend vaccination for high risk groups including health workers, kids, and people with respiratory diseases
Patiala, Mar 03, 2015: With swine flu or H1N1 causing a renewed scare in India, including Punjab, doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital – Patiala have asked people in the city to adopt simple but strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus including washing hands, covering nose, avoiding crowded spaces and boosting immunity.
The H1N1 virus has already claimed over 20 lives in Punjab, even as it spreads across multiple states and cities in India.
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to common influenza including fever with chills, cough, sore throat, pain in the head and body occasionally with nausea and diarrhea. It is essential not to ignore any symptom and seek medical attention immediately.
“The H1N1 virus is a strain of a swine flu virus and spreads from human to human. It typically spreads when an infected person sneezes in the open and scatters the virus in the air. It also spreads when we touch or shake hands with infected people or touch objects like door knobs, tables, chairs in public places which may have been infected. It is hence very important to observe extreme caution to prevent yourself from contracting the diseases,” says Dr. Gurpreet Singh Dang, General Physician, Columbia Asia Hospital-Patiala. The virus is called swine flu because it originated from pigs. However, the current strain that is spreading H1N1 is a mutation of the original swine flu virus and doesn’t need animals to spread. It travels from person to person like other common influenza strains.
This makes it very contagious as even a single sneeze can scatter thousands of germs in the air and infect many people. People who work in extremely crowded places and come in contact with several people are at extreme risk. So are the people who use public transport daily.
“We travel to multiple locations daily including public spaces, public toilets and public transport. We touch so many objects which may be infected such as door knobs, handles, seats of buses and trains, tables at restaurants; we also meet so many people, and shake hands of those who may have come in contact with infected objects. So, there are hundreds of possibilities of contracting the virus and we need to adopt special preventive measures,” adds Dr. Gurpreet Singh Dang.
Steps to follow:
- Wash hands multiple times a day thoroughly using soap and water; if you are out of home, make it a point to wash hands every two hours
- Avoid touching objects like doors, seats, tables, handles at public places; they might be carrying the virus
- Avoid eating outside as long as the pandemic is in the air; plates, glasses, tables, chairs at restaurants may be carrying the virus
- Wear a nose covering mask when at crowded public places or public transport
- Drink a lot of water and fluids and consume a lot of vitamin C to boost your immunity; this is the best way to ward off the virus
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a paper napkin or handkerchief when you sneeze
- If you feel ill, stay at home and seek a doctor’s help
- Get vaccinated if you are in the high risk group – people who work in crowded places, elderly, children, people who have lung or respiratory diseases
- Avoid handshakes and hugs; stick to verbal greetings when you meet people