Swine flu advisory issued for Valley

Prevention from flu
*Avoid overcrowded places like festivals, ceremonies and big gatherings
*Keep one meter distance from a person who is coughing or sneezing
*Cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing
*Wash your hands with soaps and water frequently
*Home quarantine advised to children if found to have cough/cold

Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: The government has issued a swine flu advisory across the Valley and asked the health officers to alarm the authorities in case the deadly H1N1 virus is detected.
The advisory, however, says that no case of the swine flu has been reported in the Valley so far.
According to the advisory issued by the Directorate of Health Services’ division of Epidemiology and Public Health, all chief medical officers, medical superintendents and block medical officers of Kashmir division have been asked to collect information regarding influenza H1N1.
“Whosever gets symptoms of the influenza like fever (above 100 F), headache, soar throat, breathless, it (the health authorities) should be immediately alarmed,” the advisory reads.
The order advises the medicos “not to get too much engaged” with the seasonal flu cases so that the real H1 NI flu patients go undetected.
“Influenza A (H1N1) has merged with seasonal flu as it is more in a phase of pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO),” the order says, warning that seasonal outbreaks of H1N1 virus can continue to occur till the virus gets merged with seasonal flu.
“The drop in temperature has led to the increase in number of cases in the country, but they will drop once the temperature improves,” the advisory states. “Also less than 30 percent of the flu affected need hospitalisation as in most cases symptoms can be treated at home. And those who do not get hospitalized fall sick due to underlying medical conditions that the person might be suffering from that compromised their immunity”.
Giving pointers to recognize the flu, the Health Department in the advisory says the flu is diagnosed when a person suffer from cough and cold. “Only sore throat is not flu,” it says. “Flu patients do not require antibiotics. Unless cold and cough is not accompanied with breathlessness, it does not require hospitalization. “
The advisory has been issued apparently after the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) pointed out recently that hospitals in the Valley were not prepared to combat swine flu.
The DAK had said the two designated hospitals, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, did not have separate wards for the H1N1 patients.
In 2009, 53 cases of H1N1 virus were reported in the state forcing the health authorities to sound an alarm.