PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY ON SEASONAL INFLUENZA A H1N1
INTRODUCTION AND MODE OF SPREAD
Seasonal Influenza A ( H1N1) is a self- limiting viral, air borne disease spread from person-to-person, through large droplets generated by the act of coughing and sneezing, indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface (fomite transmission like telephone, cell phones, computers, door handles, door bells, pens, toys etc) and close contact (including hand shaking, hugging, kissing )
Fever & Cough , Sore throat, Runny or Stuffy Nose, Difficulty in Breathing. Other symptoms may include Body Aches, Headache, Fatigue, Chills, Diarrhea and Vomiting and Blood Stained Sputum
CATEGORIZATION OF PATIENTS
· Category A (patients with flu symptoms- mild fever, sore throat ,cough etc) neither require Oseltamivir nor testing
· Category B (Patients with high grade fever, severe sore throat and patients with high risk) require only Oseltamivir. Testing is not required
· Category C (patients with danger signs) require Oseltamivir, testing and hospitalization
DANGER SIGNALS ( RED FLAG SIGNS ) IN INFLUENZA PATIENTS
· Fever remains high
· Difficulty in breathing
· Coughing of blood stained sputum
· Altered behavior, incoherent speech
· Bluish discoloration of the skin & lips.
HIGH RISK GROUP
· Children with mild illness but with predisposing risk factors
· Pregnant women
· Persons aged 65 years or older
· Health workers
· Patients with lung diseases, heart disease, liver disease,kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer and HIV/AIDS
· Patients on long term cortisone therapy
The impact of seasonal influenza can be mitigated by simple public health measures such as frequent washing of hands, respiratory etiquette, avoiding crowded places and maintaining distance of an arm length from those affected from flu like symptoms. Informing the public to adopt these measures would be of help. Some of the important points are
· Seasonal influenza A H1N1can present as fever, cough, sore throat, head ache, body ache and in some cases as diarrhea and vomiting.
· Not every patient with Seasonal influenza A H1N1 needs testing or specific antiviral treatment. Patients should consult doctor and follow advice. Treatment of Seasonal Influenza A H1N1 is available in all Govt Hospitals
· If you are having Flu like symptoms, stay at home and contact with others may be limited as much as possible, to prevent transmitting infection to others.
· Take Paracetamol in case of mild fever, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious food and take rest.
· Proper hand washing with soap and water and covering of nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing.
· Immediately consult a doctor in case of high grade fever and severe cough. Be monitored to assess worsening of symptoms.
· Cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissue or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing
· Frequently wash your hands with soap and water
· Avoid crowded places
· Person suffering from Seasonal Influenza must be confined at home
· Stay more than one arm’s length distance from persons sick with flu
· Take adequate sleep and rest
· Drink plenty of water/liquids and eat nutritious food
· Person suspected with Influenza like illness must consult doctor
· Touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
· Hugging, kissing and shaking hands while greeting
· Spitting in public places
· Taking medicines without consulting doctor
· Disposal of used napkin or tissue paper in open areas
· Touching surfaces usually used by public (Railing, door gates, etc)
· Smoking in public places
· Unnecessary testing for H1N1