ISLAMABAD: One can tackle flu virus of any kind, including swine flu by taking preventive measures, but the hospitals urgently need to put in place safeguards to protect any patients contracting the deadly flu.
About preventing measures against this disease, In-Charge Dengue, TB and Communicable Diseases Prevention Cell in Islamabad Dr. Najeeb Durrani said that one should cover mouth and nose when sneezing and hands should be washed frequently with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds.
He also advised wearing of a mask as face masks and respirators may help prevent some exposure to flu viruses. He also advised avoiding of unnecessary gatherings of people and stay at home.
He said even patients suffering from simple flu should stay indoors and try and avoid close contact especially with people who have flu.
Doctors advise a minimum distance of 6-10 feet from affected person to avoid airborne transmission.
High-risk patients should be more vigilant and visit doctors at the earliest and others should wear a surgical mask if there is an outbreak in an area.
Those who can take garlic, must have two pods of raw garlic first thing in the morning as it strengthens immunity. Those not allergic to milk, must take a glass of hot or lukewarm milk every night with a small measure of turmeric.
Children less than five years of age and elderly should also avoid crowded places.
Dr Najeeb said instead of panicking, people should take liquids like soup and drink lots of water and eat fruits.
H1N1 causes a person undergo fever, headache, body ache, cold, cough, sore throat, runny nose, vomiting and diarrhea. It is recommended to visit the doctor as soon as a person suffers any of these symptoms.
About treatment of this disease, he said there is vaccine available in market and there is need to be vaccinated every year.
The vaccine remains effective for one year and patient is required to be vaccinated every year before winter season.
He said World Health Organization (WHO) provided medicine ‘Tamiflu’ as an anti-viral drug to National Institute of Health (NIH) for the prevention or treatment of the disease. In case of any symptoms of flu, one can get treatment through this medicine.
He said that NIH has diagnostic facilities for this disease and treatment is provided at other government and private hospitals.
However, he said that hospitals do not have required equipment for protection of health care professionals nor are the health care facilities are keenly aware of standards to keep swine flu suspects in isolation.
He stressed for vigilance and preparedness among staff of hospitals to handle patients of swine flu and said that awareness among community members will be crucial.
Dr Najeeb said the isolation units are necessary for flu patients but time barrier nursing may be focused in hospital during treatment of such patients and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face masks, face shields and shoes cover to be provided.