The bright sunny days and colder nights with a huge gap in temperature is expected to facilitate the spread of Swine Flu. Weather forecasts have also predicted rains in some parts of Uttar Pradesh lately which means more of humidity in the Northern region.
Prof AK Prasad, chairman, Influenza Foundation of India says, “Low temperature and high humidity levels that make the air extremely dense provide stability to the flu viruses and increase its activity.”
It is suggested that everyone should stay cautious to avoid trouble.
The gap between day and night temperatures allow flu viruses to remain suspended in the dense air for a long time. This is maximum in morning as per experts, especially between dawn and 8 AM. Hence, those with compromised immunity are most vulnerable to the virus especially during day break.
Doctors say, elderly or those with a known history of lung diseases should avoid early morning exposure to air.
Chief of Microbiology Department at Sanjay Gandhi PG Institute of Medical Sciences says, “Flu viruses would subside only after Holi”. Extended winters are known to be the real culprit in spreading the virus.
Basic hand-washing and sneezing hygiene is highly recommended, especially on the day of Holi or a little after, when cough and cold are common to catch.
Till date, Swine Flu has taken more than 1000 lives across the country. Here's the quick checklist of Swine Flu before you pump your ‘pichkaaris' for Holi –
Signs and Symptoms of Swine Flu
Its symptoms are similar to any other influenza like - fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. People with Swine Flu are more likely to feel nauseous and throw up than people who have seasonal flu. But a lab test is the only way to know for sure.
What causes Swine Flu?
It is an air-borne, respiratory disease caused by a swine influenza virus commonly known as H1N1. There are other subtypes also like - H1N2, H1N3, H3N1, H3N2 and H2N3 which can also be the reasons of flu.
Most importantly, it transmits from person to person through the same medium as other flu viruses. It spreads through saliva and mucus particles.
Most vulnerable to Swine Flu
* Individuals having any other respiratory condition like pneumonia
* Pregnant women
* People suffering from chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes
* People more than 65 years of age and children younger than 2 years
How to prevent Swine Flu, especially on Holi
- Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water. Alternatively, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid people who are sick or having cold or cough.
- Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Keep your face covered with a mask, if possible. Keep it covered especially while sneezing or coughing.
- Eat immune-boosting foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other vitamin-rich foods.
- Drink sufficient water.
- If you still fall victim to the disease, vaccines are available at every hospital which include: Antiviral medications – Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza) which help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of serious complications.
- Consult a doctor.
- Additionally, avoid damp, humid locations on the day of Holi and avoid remaining wet for a very long period of time.