A total of 275 people across India have succumbed to swine flu this year while over 2,500 others have tested positive for the disease, the health ministry said on Friday. While Rajasthan recorded the maximum of 112 deaths, Gujarat was second with 58 fatalities. Twelve people have died due to the disease in Delhi. A total of 2,527 people tested positive for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, which causes swine flu, in 35 states and union territories. The highest number 878 cases were registered in Delhi followed by Rajasthan which recorded 586 cases.
What is the swine flu virus?
Swine flu is caused due to a zoonotic disease which originally was transmitted from pigs to humans and now spreads from one human to another. The symptoms of swine flu are very similar to regular influenza and include fever, headaches, chills, diarrhoea, coughing and sneezing. One can prevent infection by maintaining basic hygiene and wearing a proper surgical mask during flu season. The number of cases shoots up during the summers and monsoon seasons. There are various vaccines available to combat the disease and antiviral treatments for prevention as well. One should however only use these medicines under a doctor’s supervision as indiscriminate use might result in susceptibility to the virus.
Swine flu isn’t a disease that you can catch from pigs. It is in fact, a human virus that spreads from one human to another. The virus is extremely contagious. Here are some swine flu prevention tips:
- It can spread through coughing and sneezing so always cover your face while doing so. And make sure people around you in office or home also follow this.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth too often
- Maintain a high level of personal hygiene. Always wash your hands before or after eating and particularly after returning from a public place.
- Sometimes virus can spread through droplets that have remained on surfaces of things like laptops, phones so avoid using someone else’s items.
- Avoid public places, unhygienic conditions, etc.
- If your city/area is swine-flu endemic, always wear a standard swine flu mask in public places (the H-95 mask which is worn by nurses and doctors while collecting samples from swine flu victims). Normal surgical masks which sell like hot cakes during swine flu season might not give enough protection.
- If you feel sick and look like you are developing a cold or fever, stay at home and take enough rest. Rest has also been shown to increase ‘interferons’ which help our immunity to fight the virus better. Keeping away from others also prevents spread of the infection.
Also read: Swine flu: All you need to know
With inputs from IANS