Swine flu: Prevention, symptoms, causes, tests and treatment

1-240x240-11mar15Dr. Gopal Gupta (B.A.M.S) is a Family Physician (Integrated Medicine). He owns, manages and has been practising since the last 15 years at ?The Family Clinic? at Mulund, Mumbai.

He has successfully treated people of all age groups. He has also been providing community services by conducting medical camps.His expertise includes general health check-ups and routine health management. He also specialises in the home management of critically ill or terminal patients.He has been associated as an advisory with a Telemedicine Company.

Dr. Gopal Gupta answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

Is it good to have warm lukewarm water 3-4 times a day to keep all illnesses away from us?
Plenty of fluids is always advised.

What is your personal opinion on the outlook of Swine flu?
Be alert. Don’t panic.Practice good health habits, get plenty of sleep, regular excercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy food. If you are sick with flu like illness, stay home for atleast 24 hrs after your fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicines.( antipyretics)

Hi dr, do the people with metabolic disorders have more risk?
Yes.

People have created a lot of hype and panic I guess for swine flu. What is your advice dr.gupta?
Its not a hype but a worry for the society because till today atleast around 1000 people in India have been reported positive for H1N1. So as a responsible citizen its our duty to follow the health and hygiene guidelines. Follow the practices mentioned in earlier answers so that the virus doesn’t spread.

Doc Gopal ji there is so said and written about swine flu but what should be the right approach towards the epidemic swine flu?
Be alert, don’t panic. Practice good health habits. If you have any flu like symptoms first and foremost stay home, stay isolated, do not go to school or work, cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash after you use it, wash hands frequently anything you touch may be affected, carry hand sanitizer, eat healthy, drink lot of fluids, sleep well, avoid crowds.Don’t try any self medication, instead visit your Doctor. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has introduced a 24/7 helpline No. 022-24114000- for queries regards to swine flu.

And what is the best way to stop the H1NI from spreading?
Practice good health habits. If you have any flu like symptoms first and foremost stay home, stay isolated, do not go to school or work, cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash after you use it, wash hands frequently anything you touch may be affected, carry hand sanitizer, eat healthy, drink lot of fluids, sleep well, avoid crowds.Don’t try any self medication, instead visit your Doctor.

Good morng I want to know what should one do if he/she comes in contact with a H1N1patient?
Urgently inform your health care provider with the onset of any flu like symptoms, get yourself investigated by doing a throat and nasal mucous swab for swine flu. Follow the treatment recommended by your health care provider.

There are some homeopaths also claiming to treat swine flu. Which treatment is the most effective for swine flu patients?
The recommendation given by the Government which is approved and scientific are the antiviral agents like Oseltamivir ( Tamiflu ) and Zanamivir ( Relenza ). The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has introduced a 24/7 helpline No. 022-24114000- for queries regards to swine flu.

Which vaccine is suggested for swine flu prevention?
Vaccines available are injectible shot and nasal spray. Some names to mention: vaxigrip, influgen, nasovac. Let your family physician decide which vaccination will be best suited for your family.

Do you advice vaccination for children and adults to prevent from swine flu virus?
Yes vaccination is advised for the age group starting from the age of 6 months to 65yrs.

Does swine flu only spreads through sneezing and cough?
Swine flu is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from people sneezing or coughing. Swine flu can be transmitted by contact with infected eating utensils. Pig farmers can be infected directly from infected pigs- For eg: By handling sick pigs and not washing their hands.

When should one’s cold cough or fever considered serious?
If the symptoms do not get suppressed within 24 hrs of taking the medicine, you feel breathlessness, severe cough, high grade fever, body ache, vomiting, severe debility, kindly follow up with your health care provider.

Is it normal to get cold or cough with ever change of season?
Yes probably.

pl tell some imp tips which can help not t fall sick with the change of season?
Practise good hygiene and health habits. Drink lots of fluids, manage your stress, get plenty of sleep and exercise and eat healthy food.

How many days a patient generally takes to recover completely from swine flu? Thank you.
2 weeks.

What changes does swine flu bring to one’s body?
As mentioned the symptoms of swine flu, fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, breathlessness, even bluish discoloration of the nails, the symptoms escalates with the progression and stage of the disease.

Its said that swine flu gets aggravated during winter? Why?
Yes. Because winter is the ideal environment for the growth of flu causing viruses.

What other advice should I give my child aged 11yrs while in school to himself from illnesses?
If all the childrens in the class follow good healthy habits, cover their mouth while sneezing or coughing, wash their hands frequently ( add sanitizer in their school bag) will definitely benefit everybody.

As my son loves to play cricket, he is usually not so clean after he returns home after playing. Can swine flu virus also transfer through dirt or soil on clothes?
Probably yes.

I have a 10yr old son. How often should my child wash his hands with antibacterial soap daily?
Rather using antibacterial soap use alcohol based sanitizer. Very often because children are susceptible to group of individuals in the school, garden and play area. Better safe then sorry!

Why do you think swine flu is so fatal ?
When the diagnosis and the treatment is delayed. The patient has not received antiviral agents on time. The major complications seen is pneumonia which can prove to be fatal.

How different is swine flu from bird flu?
Normally bird flu won’t affect humans and swine flu is found to be infecting humans.

Is swine flu an infection or an illness?
Its an infection.

Hello Dr Gupta What is your advice for swine flu prevention if a person has to be in a crowded place?
Close proximity to other people will heighten your chances of getting swine flu. Wear a surgical mask (3 layered ). Try to stay atleast 3-6 feet away from people. Wash your hands constantly. Eat healthy diet.

What is your advice for pregnant women to prevent swine flu?
Practise good health habits. If you have any flu like symptoms first and foremost stay home, stay isolated, do not go to school or work, cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash after you use it, wash hands frequently anything you touch may be affected, carry hand sanitizer, eat healthy, drink lot of fluids, sleep well, avoid crowds.Don’t try any self medication, instead visit your Doctor.

Dear dr. can the swine flu virus transfer to the baby from his pregnant mother?
If the baby is in the womb he will not be affected by the virus because study shows that the H1N1 does not cross the placenta barrier.

When does swine flu prove to be fatal?
When the diagnosis and the treatment is delayed. The patient has not received antiviral agents on time. The major complications seen is pneumonia which can prove to be fatal.

Are there chances of swine flu to recur?
Yes.

What is the percentage of swine flu healing completely?
Antiviral agents have been reported to reduce and halt the effects of swine flu if taken within 48 hrs of the onset of symptoms.

How contagious is swine flu?
If somebody is infected with swine flu he can be contagious for upto 10 days. The swine flu virus spreads between people in the same way that seasonal flu viruses spread.

Are diabetics and people with heart diseases more prone to swine flu?
They are at high risk as already mentioned.

Hello..Swine suggests a pig, but now its being said that its not being transmitted through pork, but through humans, then why is it called swine flu dr?
Influenza virus are constantly changing their genes, a process called mutation. When a swine flu virus is found in humans, it is said to have ” Jumped the species barrier”. This means that the virus has mutated in a way that allows it to cause the condition in humans. It was first detected in 2009, it was called “Swine Flu” because the virus was similar to those found in pigs. Note: You cannot get it by eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products.

What are the earliest symptoms of swine flu Sir?
Symptoms of swine flu are very similar to regular flu. This includes fever, sore throat, cough, bodyache, headache, chills and fatigue. You may even have vomiting and diarrhea. As soon as we get any flu like symptoms visit your health care provider.

is it good or necessary to have a multivitamin daily to boost good health?
Why don’t you have a healthy and nutritious diet? Follow regular exercise.

I want to know what type of health tests you suggest for better health on yearly basis?
Basically for adults you can go for the following investigations on an yearly basis: CBC, Lipid profile, renal profile, fasting and post lunch blood sugar, ECG. ( Note your health check up may vary with your family history, your habits and past illness. So better consult your family physician for the best choice.)

Is it true that our body gets more susceptible to common illnesses if we spend more time in an air conditioned atmosphere?
Yes in an enclosed space with lot of people around.

Hello Doctor, please tell some suggestions which can help in not falling sick with the change of weather conditions?
Practise good hygiene and health habits. Drink lots of fluids, manage your stress, get plenty of sleep and exercise and eat healthy food.
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Hey Dr Gupta I am a mother of two kids aged 7yrs and 11yrs. What precautions should I take to prevent my family from swine flu?
Practise good health habits. If you have any flu like symptoms first and foremost stay home, stay isolated, do not go to school or work, cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash after you use it, wash hands frequently anything you touch may be affected, carry hand sanitizer, eat healthy, drink lot of fluids, sleep well, avoid crowds… Be Indian… Say Namaste…. Avoid handshakes, hugs and kisses. Don’t try any self medication, instead visit your Doctor.

What should be Dos & Don’ts as a preventive measure against swine flu for all ages of people ?
If you have any flu like symptoms first and foremost stay home, stay isolated, do not go to school or work, cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash after you use it, wash hands frequently anything you touch may be affected, carry hand sanitizer, eat healthy, drink lot of fluids, sleep well, avoid crowds… Be Indian… Say Namaste…. Avoid handshakes, hugs and kisses. Don’t try any self medication, instead visit your Doctor.

If there is any medicine / vaccine , when taken beforehand will prevent swaine flu
There are no medicines available that can prevent you from getting swine flu. Better get vaccinated for the virus.

Why is swine flu proving to be fatal ?
Lack of awareness and acceptance among common public, self medication, ignorance, late approach to the health care provider or late diagnosis.

How does swine flu actually spread?
The virus spreads when you touch an infected surface or breath cough and sneeze droplets in the air. If you are infected you can be contagious for 10 days.

Are there any medicines that can prevent from getting swine flu?
There are no medicines available that can prevent you from getting swine flu. Better get vaccinated for the virus.

Are there vaccinations available to prevent swine flu?
Getting vaccinated will be your best bet against the virus. Vaccines are available. For details you can contact your health care provider.

Hi..Some one was telling me that Septillin by Himalaya is helpful for swine flu? Is it right?
If anyone is diagnosed with swine flu will definitely require an antiviral agent.

Can swine flu be transmitted through food?
Although there have been no known cases of swine flu transmission through food but there does seem to be some concern about the possibility. Make sure you wash your fruits and vegetables with water and maintain hygiene. Even it depends upon the handling of the food sources.

Does symptoms of swine flu vary between adults and children?
Symptoms are same in both adults and children but bodyache and pain will be seen in adults because the child won’t be able to discriminate between pain and aches.

Do non vegans have more chance of getting swine flu?
The chances of getting infected with swine flu will be equal to all.

Good afternoon what kind of people are more prone to swine flu?
Young children below 5 yrs, pregnant women, older adults with autoimmune diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, people suffering from kidney disorder, HIV, tuberculosis, cancer, patients on chemotherapy. Health care providers, paramedical staff, health care workers and travellers.

I would like to know the basic symptoms of Swine flu and its precautions and when do we go for medical check up
Symptoms of swine flu are very similar to regular flu. This includes fever, sore throat, cough, bodyache, headache, chills and fatigue. You may even have vomitting and diarrhea. As soon as we get any flu like symptoms visit your health care provider.

How long does the H1N1 virus remain active on a contaminated surface like a door handle and is it true that the virus becomes inert faster on a soft surface like cloth compared to a hard surface like a door handle?
The human swine flu virus can live for about 2 hrs outside the body, infection can occur when a person touches a contaminated object ( such as dirty tissue) and then touches his/her own eyes, nose or mouth. If you touch any surface which may be contaminated or affected and if with the same you touch your face or mouth or nose, you will be susceptible to get infected.

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