While the outbreak of novel coronavirus still has the world in its grip, Swine Flu has hit India with its first death and 37 cases that have been tested positive. The deadly H1N1 virus has also claimed two lives. A 22-year-old student from Alwar succumbed to the flu in Jaipur after allegedly catching the virus in the capital city of Rajasthan and in Hyderabad, a 38-year-old woman died of swine flu three days after childbirth.
In Bengaluru, two employees from SAP India were tested positive. And as a "precautionary measure" for "extensive sanitization", SAP India has temporarily shut all its offices including Bengaluru, Mumbai and Gurugram. The employees were notified via email to pursue work from home from February 20-28 until further notice.
The maximum cases of swine flu this year have been reported in Rajasthan with the majority of them in Jaipur. According to a report by the health department, a total of 24 swine flu cases have been recorded as of February 20 with 16 people in Jaipur, two in Jodhpur and Ajmer each, and one each in Tonk, Alwar, Kota and Udaipur.
Eleven such cases have been reported in Himachal Pradesh as well with nine of them in Shimla and one in Kangra and Mandi districts. The virus is on the rise and it's the need of the hour to make ourselves aware. Here's everything you should know about the H1N1 virus:
Swine influenza is a viral respiratory infection caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus called H1N1. Here's how the virus spreads:
1. By airborne respiratory droplets (coughs or sneezes)
2. By skin-to-skin contact (handshakes or hugs)
3. By saliva (kissing or shared drinks)
4. By touching a contaminated surface (blankets or doorknobs)
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to that of a seasonal flu but are characterised by higher fatality rates, especially among healthy young adults and higher incidence of viral pneumonia, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The H1N1 symptoms include:
- Common cold
- Sore throat
- High-grade fever
- Fatigue, weakness and body aches
- Muscle pains
- Shortness of breath
- Gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
Summer is in the offing, in fact, already upon those who live in South India. So, cases of H1N1 virus come as a surprise as swine flu is considered an illness of the winter. But it is curable and doctors suggest early detection is the key to effective treatment. Typical treatment includes plenty of rest, fluids and medication such as:
- Antiviral drugs to reduce the virus' ability to replicate
- Cough medicines
- Decongestants to relieve nasal congestion, swelling and runny nose
- Pain relievers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease inflammation and reduce fever
Consult a doctor if you notice any or all of the above-mentioned symptoms immediately.
Don't rely on seasonal flu medication to prevent swine flu. Here are a few preventative measures:
1. Vaccination is an effective strategy: India has developed two vaccines for swine flu. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. In India, there's Vaxiflu-S (injectable), a single shot intra-muscular vaccine and Nasovac, a nasal spray vaccine (as fo 2015).
2. Practice good hygiene: Think personal cleanliness that promotes health and well-being. Wash your hands often. Keep alcohol-based sanitizers handy.
3. Use a face mask: Try not to reuse your face masks. Wear them once and dispose of properly.
4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your inner elbow when coughing or sneezing, not your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
5. Consume menthol, an oil made from mint, to soothe a sore throat and relieve itching.
6. If you've got flu-like symptoms, avoid going out or contact with others until you have been free of fever for at least 24 hours.
7. Rest! Reduce your activity for a short period of time following an injury to promote healing.
8. Drink lots of water.
Featured Image: Shutterstock
Start your 2020 right with our cool new planners and statement-making sweatshirts that are fun, fab and 100% you! Psst... there's an additional 20% off too, so head to POPxo.com/shop and take it up a POP!