Everything you wanted to know about Swine Flu

Swine flu is well and truly here. Mainstream media has already given enough and more coverage to how it is spreading, who's affected, who's playing politics over it, etc etc. It is a reality and we have to learn how to live with it and fight it, rather than panic. Let's understand what Swine Flu truly is and how you can combat it in every day life.


A lot of parents have been calling/SMSing me asking where they can find masks, because masks are running out of stock everywhere it seems. Here are contacts of some dealers around Mumbai who are likely to have sufficient quantity of stock of surgical masks.

Kandivali to Dahisar: Magnum
Beyond Dahisar: Thea-Tex
Andheri to Malad: Accurate Surgical
Midtown: Harrison
Downtown: Surgipharma
Eastern Suburbs: Woven Fabric
Beyond Thane: Sanjeevani

If you need more contacts, please leave a comment or email me at jesus [at] jesuslall.in.

Where can one get tested for Swine Flu in Mumbai?
  1. Kasturba Hospital, Jacob Circle
  2. Bhabha Hospital, Bandra
  3. Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar
  4. Bhagwati Hospital, Borivli
  5. M T Agarwal Hospital, Mulund
  6. Siddharth Hospital, Goregaon
See this map for details, addresses and phone numbers.

Some important official contacts are:

Control Room, Room # 137, 1st Floor, Swasthaya Bhawan, Mumbai
022-22029070 022-22025830 [24X7]

Nodal Officer
Dr. Gawande - +91 9420711426
Dr. Awate - +91 9423337556

Practical Information
See the following excerpts from an information dossier issued by the Indian Medical Association
How do I know if I have influenza A (H1N1)?
You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A (H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A (H1N1). If they suspect any symptoms they will send your blood sample, throat swab and nasopharyngeal (nose to mouth) for testing to laboratories. Presently this facility is available only at certain specified government laboratories.

What are the warning signs?
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
* Fast breathing or difficulty in breathing
* Bluish or gray skin colour
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
* Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

How do you catch H1N1 (swine) flu?
H1N1 virus appears to be transmitted the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people can infect others right from day one even before they themselves develop any symptoms up to seven or more days after becoming sick. That means that one can pass on the infection to someone else before he/she even knows that he/she is sick, as well as while one is sick.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1 (swine) flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you get sick with influenza, you should stay at home and not go for work or school and limit contact with others to prevent them from getting infecting by you.
* Reduce the time spent in the crowded settings.
* Improve airflow in the living space by opening the windows and proper ventilation.
* Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

Are there medicines to treat H1N1 (swine) flu?
Yes, use of oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu?) or zanamivir (brand name Relenza ?) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these H1N1 (swine) influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within two days of symptoms).

What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where people have been identified with new H1N1 flu and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhoea, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people, except to seek medical care. If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health care provider or seek medical care. Your health care provider will determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed. Antiviral drugs may reduce the symptoms and duration of illness, just as they do for seasonal influenza. They also may contribute to preventing severe disease and death. WHO is in touch with public health authorities and clinicians in affected countries and is gathering information about how effective the drugs are.

What about using a mask?
If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask. If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and clean your hands thoroughly afterwards. If you are sick and have to travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose. Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the chance of spreading infection. Masks need to be N95 (WHO code) compliant.


Raha256 said...

Dear Mr.lal

Thanks for sharing this. i was unaware of swine flu precationary measures. ur blog helped me a lot. thanxs once again. keep posting.

Mrs.radhu kumar

Unknown said...

Keep posting, it's more informatic ,Thanks for sharing this.

Mr. arun rajani

The Storyteller Who Also Writes said...

This is excellent. Very informative and perfectly detailed and defined. Thank you so much. I have posted a link on my own blog to spread the word.
Check out the link at http://travelmumbai-hotspots.blogspot.com
P.S. Congratulations for starting your blog. I'm sure this will be a source of invaluable information as well as inspiration for many. All the best.

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