Saturday, August 8, 2009

Swine Flu

Keep hard surfaces clean, advises visiting A(H1N1) researcher.

Claiming a total of seven victims to date, the death toll of swine flu in the Kingdom has reached an all-time high in comparison with the rest of the Middle East. Strategies to curb this pandemic are being introduced every day by the authorities. The “Infection Control Lecture on Swine Flu”, organized at the New Jeddah Clinic Hospital on Wednesday, was therefore timely and offered an insight into the world of medical professionals that are on the frontline of the anti-swine flu movement.

Dr. Mani Srinivasan is a prominent medical personality in the US, who has been working extensively with the swine flu research team. He delivered a simple yet effective presentation on the phenomenon of swine flu, focusing mainly on its vaccine and treatment.

Symptoms and contagion

The symptoms of swine flu, Dr. Srinivasan indicated, are similar to the regular flu or cold. These include a scratchy throat, runny nose, fever, body ache, and in rare cases, diarrhea, and these normally last from five to seven days, on average. He explained that the swine flu virus spreads in the same way as ordinary colds as the mode of transmission is droplets.

So if someone sneezes or coughs without covering, the virus can infect anyone within a three-foot radius. He also elaborated in certain trends as far as susceptibility to infection is concerned, with pregnant women, toddler and patients suffering from chronic illnesses of the lungs, heart, kidneys or liver being the most susceptible.

Prevention is better than cure

According to Dr. Srinivasan’s research, the swine flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours, whereas its life period on soft surfaces is as short as 20 minutes. Therefore, it is imperative to disinfect all hard surfaces regularly including floors, wood or metal furniture, and door handles.

He also stressed on personal hygiene to avoid contracting the infection. “Either hand-rubs with alcohol or soap and water should be used on a regular basis. Currently, there are no studies to show which method is better,” he explained.

Hand sanitizers are an alternate to soap and water where these facilities are unavailable, and he added that all dirty tissues must be disposed immediately after use. For more read here.

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