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Friday, November 2, 2012

"Swine Flu" - don't panic and do not spread rumours

Dear (s)

There is panic and knee jerk reactions – every one is talking about Swine Flu, its indications and the precautions to be taken.  People are panicky and restless spreading rumours about residents getting afflicted with this disease.  People are walking around wearing masks and there are intelligent advices on the symptoms as ‘fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, also diarrhea, vomitting. Most of these symptoms would prevail for a common flu or viral infection and anxious parents are dying in fear without anything happening !!

Masks may not be a great prevention and are more of a fashion statement.  Wildly, they could even act as vehicles of carriage in crowded places where one gets recirculated air.  The usage of mask would benefit only the seller of the mask as these are now sold at exorbitantly fancy prices

Here is something which is different – this is not any attempt at a scholastic article but really provides some hope.  Please do read on………….

For the uninformed,  Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae (the influenza viruses), that affects birds and mammals. The name influenza comes from the Italian influenza, meaning "influence" (Latin: influentia). Swine flu, scientifically called by  its serologic classification, as H1N1 Influenza A. is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of the influenza virus type A. The strain is known as H1N1 and is the same as the one found in seasonal flu outbreaks, except that it contains genetic material found in birds, humans and pigs. It is now a wholly human virus.  There are thousands of different kinds of viruses that can cause the flu. New strains develop frequently and each one is different from the one before it. The seasonal flu is actually comprised of several different strains of flu. Although most flu symptoms are mild and last only a few days without treatment, health officials worldwide are concerned because the virus is new and could easily mutate and become more virulent.

Way back in 1918, Swine influenza was proposed to be a disease related to human influenza when pigs became sick at the same time as humans. Researches have  shown that the present  outbreak is due to a new strain of H1N1 not previously reported in pigs.

Here is something which sounds optimistic and somewhat realistic also. 
These are few facts about swine flu given by Epidemiologists,  who study the
 factors affecting the health and illness of populations, and makes  logical interventions in the interests of public health and preventive medicine.

1) Swine flu, that is H1N1 flu is not new, first detected in 1987
2) Infective stage of flu  is 5 days, 1 day before and 4 days after onset of symptoms
3) The best way to prevent it spreading is by isolating patient having symptoms of flu like fever cough and running nose, keeping them to take rest at home for 4 days so he does not transmit it
4) Masks are of limited value if any, in this disease, it can spread through droplets on your skin, through contact etc,
5) Death after H1N1 flu is not common, infect infections like measles is taking toll of thousands more every year, and we are oblivious of the facts. Swine flu is being blown out of proportion by media trying to create hysteria among lay people.
6) Fever accompanied by respiratory distress, should be immediately notified which is likely to be a complication of H1N1 flu
7)The mortality is less than .01 percent of those affected, that means may be one in 10,000 affected is likely to suffer the life loss.
8) If you remember, 2 years ago SARS was blown out of proportion, what happened?
Precaution is certainly good but not panic.  One report states that in US -  for every 1000 people who get infected, about 40 people need admission to hospital and about one person dies".

Humans develop immunity to the virus, the same is going to happen, we develop immunity in due course of time, the virus is in the air, you can not stop it, our body is already developing the immunity so nothing to panic.   We need to take care of children and elderly who have less immunity and do not let them go to crowded places that are all.

So do not be unduly afraid of this Flu and let your daily work continue as normal.  If we do not know anything fully, let us atleast not spread unscientific rumours.

With regards
S Sampathkumar.

Please spread the scientific info, do not join the band wagon and stick to science, that should be the order of the day.

Circulated to my friends on 12.8.2009 when ‘swine flu’ was feared most.


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