With an upsurge in cases of swine flu in capital, doctors are advocating greater precautions for the citizens of Delhi. The precautionary measures include avoiding crowded places as much as possible, wearing mask while using public transport and getting vaccinations against the H1N1 virus. Along with the cases of dengue and chikungunya, the capital is facing a multi prolonged health challenges this monsoon. In a heavily populated city like Delhi, the chances of spread of contagious diseases like swine flu are higher. An aware citizenry can avert the danger by taking a series of precautionary measures to stave off the threat.
Swine flu is caused by H1N1 influenza virus and is a respiratory disease. Being a contagious disease, H1N1 virus transmits form an infected person to a healthy one like any other influenza virus through the modes of inhalation, ingestion, or through human touch.
"Swine flu often manifests like the normal influenza infection, with symptoms like cold and cough, running nose, fever, among others. The problem begins when the patient starts feeling severe breathlessness, headache, lose motions and gastrointestinal symptoms like abdomen pain", explained Dr Ashish Khattar, consultant, internal medicine, Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka.
Dengue fever and chikungunya diseases, on the other hand, are mosquito-borne viral diseases. They are transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, usually of aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus species, carrying a family of viruses.
"These mosquitoes are most active during daylight hours, especially during early morning and afternoon" said Dr Ashish Khattar.
The symptoms of chikungunya and dengue are quite similar and include sudden fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and rashes.
"Therefore, when such symptoms are visible, it is all the more important to rush the patient to doctor for proper medical investigation, and any self-medication should be avoided. As for preventive measures, people should use mosquito repellents while travelling on public transport as well as in offices, schools and all public places. Ensuring that water doesn't stagnate on rooftops, in home gardens and air coolers is also an individual responsibility," said Dr Khattar.
Swine flu patients are grouped in three categories.
Dr Khattar elaborated on the three categories, "Those who present with mild influenza symptoms fall in category A. They are advised to restrict themselves to home, and necessarily do not undergo testing for H1N1 virus. Category B includes those who show all the signs of swine flu and test positive for H1N1, and therefore are at high-risk. Mildly ill children, women who are pregnant, and people older than 65 years, especially if they have other health diseases, also fall in high-risk category. They are treated with 'Oseltamivir' and are advised home confinement. Those who have symptoms of category A and B and have to be hospitalized due to severe form of chest pain, breathlessness, and other symptoms fall in category C."
"It is important for people to know that triple antigen vaccination for swine flu is available and getting vaccinated is the best preventive measures," alerted Dr Khattar.
One should continue with best hygiene practices like washing hands before having food, and should also avoid close contact with influenza patients. It is also important to adopt hygiene practices when in public spaces:
- Wear masks when in crowded place to avoid inhaling the infection.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap several times a day.
- Avoid touching your face or nose with unwashed hands, make sure you wash your hands after returning from a public place or using public transport.
- Apply mosquito repellent creams before stepping out of the house.
- Make sure you wear full sleeve clothing and limit skin exposure as much as possible.
- Use mosquito nets at home and keep windows and doors closed to prevent mosquitoes from creeping in.
(With ANI Inputs)