It looks like swine flu is back in Mumbai with two people from Mulund testing positive for the dreaded H1N1 virus on Saturday.  ‘The patients have been receiving treatment at home and are both stable,’ said Dr Mangala Gomare, epidemiologist, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Dr Gomare said that one of the patients is a 44-year old woman who had visited Gujarat. Last year, 360 cases of H1N1 were reported in the city, of which five patients died. Simply covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing and/or wearing a mask isn’t enough to protect yourself from the virus.  The H1N1 virus is surprisingly resilent and can survive on door knobs, table tops and other contact surfaces for a  long time.

Prevention

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.