4 More Die Due To Swine Flu, Toll Reaches 11

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SRINAGAR — Four more people have died due to the swine flu here taking the death toll to 11 in the last few days. Following the deaths doctors have asked peo­ple to bear caution and report to the medical centers in the event of symptoms of the disease.

Two deaths each have been reported at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and Shri Maharaja Pratab Hari Singh (SMHS) Hos­pital here. Seven patients are still admitted at the SKIMS and SMHS. Authorities of SKIMS ad­mitted that two patients have died in the last 24 hours raising the toll at the hospital to 9. The patients were 55 and 75 years old and thus succumbed due to their “low immune system.”

At the SMHS hospital, two pa­tients have died while remains under observation. A 40-year-old female from Hawal, Srinagar, who was under treatment at the Intensive Care Unit of SMHS died while a 75-year-old male from Kupwara also breathed his last. At the SMHS hospital, authorities have admitted lack of ventilators. At SMHS Hospital, authorities have kept a four-bedded ward where new admissions are made and the attendants complained lack of ventilators. A patient was kept on an Ambu Bag, a basic de­vice used to assist breathing, for three days and was shifted to a medical ICU ventilator only when a patient was discharged last evening. A four-bedded isolation ward at the Chest Diseases Hospi­tal has not been made functional for past several months even as new cases get reported. Due to a drop in temperature, the swine flu cases have increased in Kash­mir here. Doctors have also said that there are many cases which remain unreported.

“There are many deaths due to H1N1 virus which don’t get reported. H1N1 patients die because either they are not di­agnosed in time or they are not suspected of carrying the virus,” said a doctor. Doctors have said that the authorities don’t issue alerts about the disease from time to time. “There is no alert issued by the health depart­ment here,” he said. “Authorities should make people aware about H1N1 symptoms so that they start taking precautions.”

The situation was worse last year when over 30 swine flu deaths were reported at SKIMS between October 2017 to Febru­ary 2018. Apart from the H1N1 infections, people had also tested positive for the H2N3 strain of the virus. H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu because of its origin be­ing associated with direct contact of humans with pigs. However, the virus in the recent past has also been reported in people who have had no contact with pigs.

In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, when the World Health Organization called it a pandemic. Since then, people have continued to get sick from swine flu, but their number has declined.

People Asked To Be Cautious To Prevent Swine Flu Deaths

The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday in a fresh advisory asked people to “take pre­cautions to protect themselves from getting” infected with swine flu.

“Simple precautions would help prevent the spread of flu,” said DAK President and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan. He said “covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing and washing your hands with soap and water will keep you and people around you healthy and well.” “People should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands,” he added.

“If you are down with flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after you’re symptom-free (unless you need to receive care),” Dr Nisar said. He said wearing a mask will prevent transmis­sion of flu virus from infected “person to others as well as protect caregiver from picking up an infection.” He said people should drink plenty of fluids and take adequate sleep and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

“Swine flu, also known as H1N1 virus is a contagious viral infection of respi­ratory tract that spreads from person to person through the inhalation of respiratory droplets. Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and body aches,” he said.

“Elderly, children under the age of five years, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions are prone to develop serious complica­tions from flu,” he informed.

“It is not too late to get a flu shot. It can be given as long as the flu is circulating. If you haven’t yet, go get it,” said Dr Nisar.

“If you are vulnerable to severe flu, see your doctor as soon as flu symptoms start, as early treatment with antiviral drugs can help

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