Response: Flu, infections and winter

Response: Flu, infections and winter

Dear Editor,
This has reference to the news item, “DAK advises doctors to prescribe antivirals for flu “Kashmir Reader January, 5, 2017, wherein Kashmir doctors body, DAK, has advised doctors to prescribe antiviral drugs for flues.
DAK has expressed concern and wonder over the prescribing of antibiotics for flue sick patients by doctors.
This is a good move by DAK to talk over such issues which come under public health domain, provided the efforts are based on sincerity, besides the concerns of a doctors’ union. They say health is wealth, truly, and it is a matter of pride if ‘employee’s bodies’ will share their responsibility in this regard for public health, education and other civic amenities.
Now, as per the recommendation of DAK, president, Dr. Nisar Ul Hassan (who as per news report is also an expert in the field) the same deserves a debate among the professional fraternity. Because, to me it seems a breakthrough if antivirals can be an effective ‘onslaught’ (treatment) for the flue infections which otherwise the patients have been hearing of as infections that are overcome only with the passage of required time frame of certain days.
Secondly, it is true that for last several years H1N1 has been much hyped as a dangerous, rather feared and life threatening flue disease, which now the DAK, in the news report in question claims is not a big danger. It claims that H1NI can be treated by the vaccination, “Swine flu (H1N1) virus is now as one of the seasonal flu strains and there is no need to raise alarm about it as it is covered in the annual flu vaccine. Washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home when ill will help keep you and your loved ones healthy and well in winter.”
Yes, we have experiences of events when chaos and confusion was created upon such outbreaks which was multiplied by the hype of media stories and reports (though here media should not be blamed for it has to highlight such grim concerns of public health). But what is irking is when the trouble emerges, all the stakeholders start firefighting and when the trouble evades all forget it at once!
The concern demands an open debate based on a research based intervention that, can a pre- winter vaccination be a breakthrough in the winter diseases emergence with regard to flues ranging from cold, flues to H1NI and also to numerous winter onslaughts including the allergy based severe diseases or other cold based complications of respiratory tract and other body organs?
Kashmir is climatically peculiar where we have a privilege that it being a naturally curing place for many chronic ailments in summers and as such foreign physicians have been advising their patients to visit Kashmir for seeking natural climatic treatment, which is not a myth but history bearing witnesses to it and medical records have findings of success cases.
At the same time it is not less than a curse for naïve winter patients who become victims of winter disease onslaughts, some of them manage to flee to warmer zones of the world whileas some accept their fate at home visiting and changing doctors and hospitals perhaps every week.
In the era of modern technologies, medical interventions and breakthroughs should not remain a privilege of rich people or developed countries only but the technology should travel throughout the globe and reach the people as properly considered interventions, treatments and medication.

—Ahmad Kashmiri can be reached at [email protected]

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