In the alarmed scenario of H1N1 Virus, which has just started creating havoc in the country, All Time Doctor is there for your help. Here is all the information you would need in this scenario for taking precautions and keeping yourself safe.
What is it: This flu is caused by a virus. Tests found that several genes in this virus were like those found in pigs of North America, which is why the ailment was named as Swine Flu. Later on, further tests proved that this virus has gene segments from the swine, avian and human flu virus genes and therefore the previous name was discarded and the virus was renamed as the ‘Influenza-A (H1N1) Virus’. As apparent, this flu is contagious and is spreading from human to human in a very speedy manner.
Symptoms: Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also reported by some people with this flu. If you have any of these two symptoms, you need to get yourself diagnosed for H1N1 Virus.
If you cannot decide whether you have caught cold or you are suffering from swine flu, consider these differences.
||Characteristic, high 100-102 degrees F); lasts 3-4 days
|General aches, pains
||Usual; often severe
||Can last up to 2-3 weeks
||Early and prominent
|Chest Discomfort, Cough
||Mild to moderate; hacking cough
||Common; can become severe
You cannot be sure if you have swine flu or not just based on your symptoms. Only lab tests can confirm whether you have got this deadly flu or not. Therefore, do not avoid consulting All Time Doctor and getting yourself diagnosed properly.
How does it spread: The virus is spread through the droplets that come out of the nose or mouth when someone coughs or sneezes. If someone coughs or sneezes and they do not cover it, those droplets can spread about one metre (3ft). If you are very nearby you might breathe them in.
Also, when someone coughs or sneezes into their hand, those drops and the virus within them are easily transmitted to surfaces that the person touches, such as door handles, hand rails, telephones and keyboards. If you touch these surfaces and touch your face, the virus can enter your system and you can become infected.
Who is at Risk: All people are at risk but especially those who are already suffering from some kind of chorine ailment like heart disease, lung, kidney, liver disease, suppressed immune system, etc. are more at risk. Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age and elders above 65 years of age are at greater risk.
How effective is wearing a mask: A well-fitted, FDA-approved mask together with other preventive measures MAY reduce the risk of contracting the flu because they reduce the chances of the virus contacting your respiratory system. Those who are sick or caring for someone who is ill should definitely use a mask or respirator, if leaving the house becomes necessary.
Is there any vaccine available: There is not vaccination as yet, but it might be available most probably from September onwards in India.
Precautions: Frequently washing your hands can reduce the chance of infection by 30 per cent. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available.
Eat healthy: Taking appropriate quantity of proteins is essential to help your body maintain and build strength against diseases. Take the benefit of vitamins B6 and B12, as both contribute to a healthy immune system.
Good sources of these nutrients: Lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts and seeds.
Exercise: Regular exercise has a cumulative immune-enhancing effect. When you exercise, your white blood cells — the blood cells that fight infections in the body — travel through your body more quickly, fighting bacteria and viruses (such as flu) more efficiently. To maintain good health, All Time Doctor recommends at least 30 minutes of activity such as walking, swimming, biking, or running daily.
Help: Rush to your nearest hospital incase of the positive H1N1 diagnosis.
Important contact number
Outbreak Monitoring Cell (Control Room, National Institute of Communicable Diseases): 011-23921401(Toll free)
Websites: www.mohfw.nic.in and www.nicd.nic.in