Handle Swine Flu ‘Smartly’

Swine Flu’s killing power is more ‘phony’ than real

Handle Swine Flu ‘Smartly’

New Delhi, January18: As the danger of swine flu is more ‘phony’ than real, a smart phone could be a handy tool to more effectively handle swine flu.

Indian Medical Association has advised doctors not to see mild swine flu patients. In a press conference today, Dr. K.K. Aggarwal said, ‘telephone consultation is enough for such patients. Rushing them to hospitals without symptom of progressive breathlessness only complicate the matter by spreading infections far and wide. Doctors can use smart phones like iphone, skype etc to see such mild swine flu patients and advice.’ He said, ‘IMA headquarters has sent this advisory to its all about 2 and half lakh members throughout India not to see patients with mild swine flu like symptoms.’

Terming panic about swine flu absolutely unnecessary, Dr. Aggarwal said, ‘No one dies of swine flu. It is pneumonia that kills if not tackled in time. In a thousand swine flu infected people only three develop pneumonia, so the stampede towards hospitals and clinics with mild symptoms is useless. In fact, normal flu has more power to kill than swine flu. ’

Dr. Aggarwal further said, ‘The government should move to streamline the ‘language’ that is being spoken by doctors and media. The best strategy to stem the unnecessary panic is government should formulate a ‘swine flu language’ and direct media and doctors to use it uniformly. It is diversity of language that is creating panic. IMA has sent its

‘language’ to all its members and has directed them not to exceed it while speaking.’ Given the ‘killing’ made by health providers and testing laboratories to fill their coffers taking advantage of the scare, Dr. Aggarwal called for rationalization of investigations, admissions and treatment. He also stressed that the government should fix the

investigation cost with no variables and should also subsidize it. The government should also release advisory regarding when not to investigate and when not to admit.

He appealed for following the triad of respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene for prevention of infection.

According to him, the mean incubation period for flu is 1.5 to 3 days and the virus shedding begins the day prior to symptom onset and often persists for five to seven days or longer in immunocompetent individuals. Even longer periods of shedding may occur in children, elderly adults, patients with chronic illnesses, and immunocompromised

hosts.

It is important to protect people from getting infections from each other.

As mild flu does not require any investigations and treatment doctors should avoid calling them in the clinics. Instead they should encourage phone consults..

Dr Aggarwal said that respiratory transmission occurs mainly by droplets disseminated by unprotected coughs and sneezes and prevention lies in implementing respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and hand hygiene.

Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette applies to all patients and accompanying family or friends who have signs of respiratory illness such as cough, congestion, nasal discharge or increased volumes of respiratory secretions.

Maintain a distance of 3-6 feet from a person who is coughing or sneezing , cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues and wash hands if get spoiled with respiratory secretions, added Dr Aggarwal. Never cough in the hands or cloth handkerchief, instead use tissue paper or cough on the sides of your sleeves, warned Dr Aggarwal. Frequent

hand hygiene should be performed, including before and after every patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and after taking off personal protective equipment, including gloves. Hand hygiene can be performed by washing with soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand rubs. If hands are visibly soiled, they should be washed with soap and water.

In clinics all doctors should provide face masks to patients with signs and / or symptoms of respiratory infection and provide them space and encourage patients with respiratory symptoms to sit as far away from others as possible.

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