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Written by Dr Swati Rajagopal

Source: https://indianexpress.com

While India and the rest of the world is trying to contain coronavirus, the deadly swine flu or HINI virus seems to have reared its head again, with two employees of SAP reportedly testing positive in Bengaluru. With this, SAP is believed to have shut down its offices in Bengaluru, Gurugram and Mumbai, so as to prevent the spread of the virus and undertake sanitation measures. But, the World Health Organisation (WHO), has already declared it as ‘post-pandemic’. Before you begin to worry about your children and family, understand what it means.

In 2009, when the world had witnessed H1N1 outbreak for the first time, the WHO had declared it as pandemic, meaning the zoonotic disease that emerged from pigs, had never been encountered before, and had already spread to many countries. Back in the time, very little was known about this influenza, but by 2010, many people around the world had been exposed to it. That is when WHO decided to label it ‘post-pandemic’. This means that the disease has now been incorporated into human population, and there will happen seasonal periods when swine flu cases will surge around the world.

It is, therefore, a good idea to get vaccinated now. But other than that, you can also take some additional measures to protect yourself and your family. Maintaining basic hygiene and washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water are things that you must absolutely do.

Dr Swati Rajagopal, Consultant-Infectious Disease at the Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore says that while we are witnessing a significant rise in the number of H1N1 cases, global climate changes and a dip in temperature are some of the probable reasons which have resulted in this increase. She also says that it is important to take influenza threats seriously as they have the potential to spread across the globe and cause pandemics.

“Contact and air-borne spread are two major factors which have led to the contamination of the virus. Rising fever, severe headache, short of breath, runny nose, irritation in eyes, body and muscle aches, sore throat, vomiting and acute dysentery are some of the symptoms of the disease. It is advisable that if one has such symptoms then he/she should avoid travel as it may lead to cross transmission of the disease,” Rajagopal tells indianexpress.com.

She says that additional care and precaution are required for children, elderly, pregnant women and people suffering from chronic disease, such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes or a heart condition, because “they are at a higher risk of complications from the flu”.

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“The symptoms of H1N1 disease are quite similar to common flu, due to which more people are becoming drug resistant. It is essential for people, especially children, to consume food which gives their body the energy and nutrients it needs to function. A diet rich in protein, antioxidants and vitamins is useful in enhancing body immunity. Keeping hydrated is also important to help battle flu. Vegetables, soups, vitamin C rich fruits will ensure that body remains hydrated for long. Avoid coffee (caffeinated beverages), alcohol and processed foods when tackling flu. Vaccination is an effective strategy to reduce complications secondary to influenza. Appropriate diet for kids helps in recovery,” she adds.

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