SRINAGAR: Swine flu has once again surfaced in the state with five people in Jammu tested positive for H1N1, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) said on Sunday while urging people to get vaccinated that would protect them from getting flu.
President DAK and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that annual flu vaccine would protect people from flu-related complications, hospitalization and death. He said everyone from 6 month old should get a flu shot.
“And now is the time to get the vaccine,” Dr Nisar said. “This year’s flu vaccine has been updated and contains protection against mutated swine flu strain along with several other strains. We have a new strain of virus in circulation called Michigan strain that has replaced earlier California strain which was circulating since pandemic 2009.”
While the vaccine is recommended for all, Dr Nisar said it is especially needed for too young, old, pregnant and people with medical conditions. “Children of 6 months through 8 years need two doses one month apart to be fully protected.”
“Only injectables are recommended this season as nasal spray vaccine, popular among children, is not recommended for use as it was found to be ineffective. Flu jabs protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and their newborn babies upto 6 months after they are born which is important as infants upto 6 months are too young to receive the vaccine,” Dr Nisar said.
“Healthcare workers should be compulsorily vaccinated to ensure safety of patients,” DAK president said. “25,864 cases of swine flu were reported across the country so far this year which is over 14 times what we witnessed in 2016. While 265 persons died due to H1N1 last year, this year so far 1100 persons have died.”
Swine flu is a respiratory disease which manifests with cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose and body ache. It emerged first in 2009 when it became pandemic affecting huge number of people. Washing your hands, covering your cough and staying at home when ill will help in staying healthy and well.