Swine Flu Advisory Issued For Valley

Health Authorities On High Alert, SKIMS Says Treatment Available

SRINAGAR: With swine flu reported to be surfacing again, the union health ministry has issued a ten-point public advisory for Kashmir, Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, even as authorities have put the Valley on high alert.

The virus, also known as H1N1, has already claimed one life in Srinagar this year, and experts say it is in circulation in some parts of Kashmir.

Stressing that there were no grounds for panic, authorities at the SKIMS said that the infection was treatable with medication, and underscored that four persons contracting the virus over the past five months had fully recovered.

The union ministry of health has advised prompt medical examination in case of symptoms like fever, sore throat, common cold and cough.

In its ten-point advisory, the has emphasised washing hands with soap or ash after going to the toilet,  avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth repeatedly, washing  hands frequently, avoiding crowded spaces like busses and markets if suffering from any disease, covering nose and mouth with a handkerchief or mask in case of common cold or cough, keeping nearby surfaces clean on a daily basis, and having at least eight hours of sleep and regular exercise to strengthen the body’s defences and immunity.      

Senior epidemologist Dr. GM Qadiri said that 53 swine flu cases had been reported in Valley in the outbreaks in 2008 and 2009 which had led to three deaths.

According to Dr. Qadiri, a major reason for the outbreaks was the virus being carried by persons entering the state from outside.

 “The virus is transmitted from person to person, but is curable with a five-day regimen of medication and vaccines,” he said.

“Since the virus is present in some parts of Kashmir, preventive and precautionary measures are essential,” he said.

Apart from the measures in the central advisory, the doctor said that patients with proven H1N1 infection should not cough or sneeze directly but use a tissue paper while coughing and sneezing.

Such patients should also avoid social functions.

“An expert team has already been set up to control its spread, and family members of patients are provided medicines to prevent infection,” he said.

The medical superintendent at the SKIMS, Dr. Ajaz Mustafa, strongly counselled against panic, saying proper diagnostic and treatment facilities were available at the institute.  

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