Swine flu is being reported in different states of India and the first few cases were diagnosed in Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Cases are also being recorded in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Surat in Gujarat. With the disease on the rise, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself from the disease.
Swine flu is a respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. In 2009, the outbreak of swine flu was caused by the H1N1 subtype, which was a combination of flu genes from bird, swine, and human flu types. The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the normal flu which include body ache, chills, coughs, headache, sore throat, tiredness, and fever.
Dr Vikrant Shah, Internal Medicine Expert, from Zen Multispeciality Hospital says, "One should look for the signs of acute onset of high-grade fever, throat pain, increased cough and breathlessness. If someone was exposed to swine flu and develops these symptoms, then it is also a confirmation of the disease."
He further adds, "Normal flu has similar symptoms to that of swine flu but the symptoms get worse faster in swine flu as compared to normal flu. Also if the oxygen saturation is low, there is a strong suspicion of swine flu".
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the swine flu season runs from October to May with the virus activity tending to peak between December and February. It is recommended to get vaccinated by the end of October before the flu starts spreading.
Pregnant women, children, elderly people above 60 and those with serious medical ailments and patients who are on steroids are more susceptible to swine flu because their immune system is weak.
According to Dr Vikrant Shah, certain steps can be taken by people to protect themselves from this disease. Check them out.
Tips To Protect Yourself From Swine Flu
1. Isolate the patient
If one is diagnosed with swine flu, isolation is required because it's a contagious disease. Avoid any kind of contact with your close family members. If a patient is breathless and requires hospitalization, it should be done in an isolation route.
2. Wear masks when you are around a patient
Wear N95 masks to prevent the transmission of the virus and not the normal masks. If you don't get N95 masks, use a handkerchief by folding it into 2-3 layers and close your nose and mouth properly so that virus isn't transmitted.
3. Take prophylactic treatment if you are nursing a patient
A person who is nursing the patient would also require prophylactic treatment. It's a kind of cover care for the relative to avoid getting infected while nursing the patient.
Also when the oxygen saturation is low in patients and they become breathless, they require hospitalization. If the symptoms are not extreme, those patients do not require hospitalization and can be managed at home provided the family members take precautionary steps to protect themselves.
A drug called oseltamivir 75 mg is given to the patient who is diagnosed with swine flu. It should be taken twice a day. And the person who is taking care of the patient should have this medicine once a day to avoid getting the disease.
4. Take rest and drink plenty of water
Every swine flu patient should take enough rest and consume plenty of liquids like fresh juices and coconut water or electrolyte powder.
5. Avoid close contact
Avoid close intimacy like kissing or going to public places where you are more likely to develop an infection.
6. Have small frequent meals
The doctor suggests consuming small frequent meals rather than a whole big meal. As the appetite also goes down during this period, it is best to eat healthy small meals frequently. Avoid having spicy foods, fatty and oily foods which is difficult to get processed in the body.
If symptoms get worse (high fever and breathlessness) at night, rush to the hospital immediately. The doctor on duty can check the oxygen levels and provide the needed treatment.
What Is The Recovery Period Of Swine Flu?
The recovery period varies, but usually, the recovery period is from 7 to 9 days with a holistic approach. If you suffer from other lung disorders or lung injury, the recovery period can be longer.
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