Swine Flu alert with dipping temperatures - The New Indian Express

Swine Flu alert with dipping temperatures

Published: 20th November 2012 11:13 AM

Last Updated: 20th November 2012 11:13 AM

With the Winter having set in, the doctors say its ‘flu season’ now. The number of swine flu cases reported from city hospitals has already gone past 310, with 33 cases of mortality as compared to mere 11 cases with one incidence of death in 2011. Popular notions like swine flu cases triggering off in mass gatherings or on coming in contact with another patient, do not apply in the flu season.

H1N1 cases on the rise

According to Dr PNS Reddy, superintendent, the Government Chest Hospital at Erragada, the numbers of H1N1 cases are on a steady rise at present. “As the temperatures keep dropping, the spread of the flu becomes faster,” he said. Agreeing with him, Dr K Subhakar, State Swine Flu Coordinator, said, “In cold, foggy and dry weather, the virus stays longer at the same environment. In such cases, one need not even come in contact with the flu patients to catch the flu.”

However, the rising numbers do not reveal the whole story. Dr Subhakar pointed out that there was no mechanism across the state to test the spread of virus, as a result of which most of the cases were being reported from Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts. “The actual numbers could be much more. District head quarters have no testing centres. They send us a few samples, which we test,” he added.

Considering the pandemic of 2009, he believed that the H1N1 flu has come on par with the normal flu. But there are causes for concern. “The virus tend to change its genetic behavior and form new combinations over mutations but studies are underway, constantly monitoring any such changes,” he said.

Preventive measures

So, in this flu season, doctors prescribe self hygiene and discipline over anything else. Especially, those people who face immuno suppression are the ones who need to extra cautious. “People with diabetes, asthma, kidney transplant patients, the ones on a steroid doze or other medication, pregnant women, children below six and adults above 60 need to be more cautious. Frequent hand washing, use of a mask or hand kerchief or tissue paper is a must,” Dr Subhakar said. He also suggests nothing, but a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

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