Bengaluru: With Bengaluru reporting as many as 630 HINI cases already this year - the highest among all cities in the state - doctors are advising people to adopt simple measures like washing their hands, covering their mouths and nose while coughing or sneezing, and avoiding crowded spaces to contain the spread of the virus.
"The virus typically spreads when an infected person sneezes in the open, when we touch or shake hands with an infected person, or touch objects like door knobs, tables and chairs in public places that may have been infected," says Dr Rini Banerjee, consultant, infectious disease, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur. She warns that people working in extremely crowded places and those who come in contact with an overcrowded environment on a regular basis are at extreme risk as are those who use public transport daily. “Children, pregnant women, the elderly, diabetics and those suffering from chronic obstructive lung diseases are more susceptible to severe conditions of H1N1 and should be tested at the earliest," she adds.
Dr Ambanna Gowda, consultant, internal medicine, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road explains the symptoms are similar to those of other flu strains. “Some of them include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, watery, red eyes, body ache, headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. These take one to three days to show up once a patient has contracted the virus. Pregnant women and patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes or a heart condition are at higher risk of contracting the flu," she says, adding that while vaccination is available in hospitals , it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking it as it is required only for people with low immunity and those travelling to the epidemic region.
Meanwhile, the government’s health department claims the temperature and climate will control the spread of H1N1 this year unlike in 2015. “We are also doing surveillance and have enough drugs to combat the disease," assures Dr B G Prakash Kumar, deputy director, vector-borne diseases, Department of Health and Family Welfare.
How to stay safe
- Wash hands thoroughly using soap and water multiple times a day.
- Avoid touching objects like doors, seats, tables and handles in public places.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids and consume fresh fruits, which contain vitamin C to boost immunity.
- Always cover nose and mouth with a paper napkin or handkerchief when sneezing and discard them in a closed dustbin.
- If you feel ill, stay home and seek a doctor’s help. Also, avoid contact with other people to keep from the infection from spreading.
- Get vaccinated if you are in the high risk group.
Courtesy of Dr Rini Banerjee, consultant, infectious disease, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital