Maharashtra has reported its first casualty of H1N1 virus (swine flu) this year after health officials confirmed the death of Sarika Bhagat Nirmala, 9, a student of Ashram Shala, a residential school in Talasari, Palghar district, on July 10. The issue was highlighted following an outbreak of fever at Ashram Shala, which led the state authorities to examine 224 children on campus and found that 13 had fever-like symptoms.
Mumbai city has been asked to stay on high alert as influenza H1N1 is back in the city, with at least four people being put on life support. The doctors have advised the patients of COVID-19 who tested negative should get tested for swine flu by their physician as the infection is circulating in the city.
Swine Flu: Treatment & Drugs
At Bandra's Lilavati Hospital, two patients under 50 are on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy, which is considered a last resort. It is offered when even ventilatory support has failed.
According to the Times of India, Dr Prahlad Prabhudesai, a Pulmonologist at the hospital, said a severe H1N1 infection badly affected the lungs of these patients on ECMO. He said, "At least 50 per cent of patients with flu-like symptoms are coming positive for HINI. It can be said HINI is competing with Covid right now."
Unlike COVID-19, highly effective drugs are available to treat swine flu. Oseltamivir is an antiviral medication used to treat and prevent influenza A and influenza B. It works well if administered within 48-72 hours, and criticality can be avoided.
Swine Flu: Symptoms & Transmission
Swine flu, or swine influenza, is a respiratory disease caused by the H1N1 virus. Humans affected by this virus suffer from influenza illness, inducing fever and affecting their respiratory system. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia leading to fatality.
Some swine flu symptoms include sudden fever with temperatures over 39 degrees celsius, sore throat with the dry persisting cough, headaches, prolonged tiredness and weakness, cold in the palms and toes, diarrhoea, and vomiting. The symptoms for adults may reveal only after seven days, whereas in children, it is visible after ten days.
The flu is transmitted when an infected person sneezes and coughs, thus spreading the virus into the air as tiny droplets. Other healthy individuals who come in direct contact with this air are immediately infected. Therefore, wearing masks, steady hand sanitising, and maintaining hygienic practices prevent disease transmission.
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