Swine flu scare in India: Doctors warn against social media panic while reading reports on WhatsApp / Facebook / Twitter etc.
The social media has lapped up stories about the 'dangerous' nature of swine flu infection, but doctors suggest it is nothing but scaremongering because though the virus can lead to complications, the disease is completely curable.TNN | 22 February 2015,PUNE: The social media has lapped up stories about the 'dangerous' nature of swine flu infection, but doctors suggest it is nothing but scaremongering because though the virus can lead to complications, the disease is completely curable.
Experts say there is no need to panic and a good doctor is the best person to judge if a person is really infected.
State surveillance officer and public health expert Pradeep Awate said, "Although the virus is affecting people of all age groups and areas, the reportage is slightly higher in the mobile population - the ones between 20 and 50 years of age and live in urban areas."
"Vaccination is advised to healthcare providers like doctors and nurses who handle swine flu patients and may get exposed to the H1N1 virus. Vaccines are available for all at private clinics and there is no shortage of medicines," said Awate.
As it stands today, the rate of swine flu death in Maharashtra is about 12% (88 of the 752 positive patients have died this year).
Doctors advise against acting on swine flu advisories in social media unless it comes from a certified medical practitioner. Consulting physician C Phansalkar said, "Unauthorised and unsolicited advice on social media can cause panic. A doctor is the best judge and diagnosis is made on the basis of the medical and travel history of a patient."
Phansalkar said, "Though the symptoms are akin to those of other acute respiratory ailments, there are several reasons on which a doctor can decide whether to administer swine flu medicine. The incubation period of the virus is three to five days and we check if the complainant travelled to a place where swine flu cases have been reported, if he lives in such a place or had come in contact with an affected person recently. The patient's medical history is also taken into account."
Doctors say a lot of patients ask for Tamiflu tablets as a precautionary measure. "It can be considered only for people who are susceptible like the elderly, children, or those with weak immunity. If the doctor thinks the patient displays swine flu symptoms, we try and prescribe Tamiflu within 48 hours as the drug is most effective during this period," he added.
Doctors say that precautionary measures similar to those for flu/common cold should be taken, which includes cutting down on stress, getting adequate sleep, boosting immunity through natural foods and eating small portions frequently.
Infectious diseases expert Bharat Purandare said, "Persons displaying symptoms should always use a handkerchief or the sleeve of a shirt to cover their mouth when sneezing. It is advisable for others to stay at least six ft away from the infected people and not to shake hands with them."SourceComments: We must also guard while reading messages, emails etc that claim miraculous cures or prevention for H1N1 swine flu or any other illnesses. Discuss this with your doctor before following any recommendations.