Swine flu alert

Time and again we hear the alarming news that certain deadly flu virus has been detected in our city too. While we immediately start taking a few safety measures like not eating out or wearing masks, many of us aren’t armed with the most basic information to be able to safeguard ourselves properly. What are the symptoms of the swine flu virus? Do masks, sanitizers, and vaccines help to prevent this disease? We, at The Week, caught up with Dr Pukar Thapa, general physician at Alka Hospital, Jawalakhel, to know more about this contagious viral flu and how we can make sure we don’t suffer from it.  

What is the swine flu virus?
Swine flu is a comparatively new strain of influenza virus that may have symptoms similar to regular flu. This influenza virus primarily infects the respiratory tract of pigs causing nasal secretion, barking coughs, and appetite loss. Viruses of swine flu have the tendency to mutate or change and can be easily contagious, spreading from person to person. The outbreak of swine flu was first observed in 2009 in Mexico with the infection of H1N1 virus. This flu soon became a pandemic infecting many people all around the globe. This summer has once again brought many cases of swine flu in Kathmandu and we have to be careful not to catch it because the best way to deal with it is to prevent it. But a simple sneeze of an infected person can transmit the virus, so you have to be really careful.

 What are some preventive measures that can be taken to avoid swine flu?
The intensity of swine flu may differ from person to person. A simple steam or home remedies may also kill the swine flu virus in some people whereas it will be completely ineffective for others. The best thing you can do if you have cold is to treat it immediately. Those who travel in public transports and go to public places must wear especially designed masks that prevent the virus from entering the human body. These masks are found in pharmacies all across the city. Avoid talking to people infected who seem to have a cold or are coughing and don’t shake hands with them either. One of the major ways to prevent the transmission of this disease is by constantly washing your hands. You can get rid of many germs this way. If there is a family member or a schoolmate with severe cold, he/she must be isolated immediately and taken to the hospital.
Can vaccines prevent this disease?

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