FAQs on Swine Flu
- What are the symptoms of swine flu?
The symptoms are cough, cold, fever, chills and body ache. These symptoms are not unusual in the rainy season, so it is difficult to identify the viral infection. Confirmation of swine flu infection is possible only by testing the fluids in the throat and nose for H1N1.
- Is there any way to prevent swine flu?
The virus spreads via the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets of fluid resulting from coughing or sneezing can also get deposited on solid surfaces like doorknobs, tables, etc. A person can get infected if he/she happens to touch those surfaces and then touches his/her mouth or nose. The swine fly attacks the respiratory track. You should avoid public contact or use mask when in crowded areas where there is possibility of infection. Here is a good source of information: www.cdc.gov/swineflU/
- What tests are done by the doctors?
In case you need to go through the test, you need to stay in the quarantine for a day. A sample of saliva is taken on a swab from your throat and nose. This sample is sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune. NIV tests the sample and declares the result by 3 pm if the sample is sent before 8 am on the same day. The result could be positive or negative or there is no decision. In case you are negative, you can go home. In case there is no decision, you need to stay one more day in the quarantine. Sample is taken the next day and testing is done. In case you are positive, you have H1N1 virus infection. In that case, you need to be in the quarantine ward for five days including the day of testing. Medicines are given to you and doctors visit you two or three times a day. Preventive medication is also given to your family members. On the fifth day, testing is done to confirm that the test is negative.
- What do I expect at the quarantine?
The quarantine area is a hospital ward. The hospital provides a bed and masks to you. You need to wear a mask all the time. Carry a mobile phone so that you can reach your family using the phone. Ask your family members to get you food, water and tea/coffee/milk. You can take your laptop and reading material so that you can spend your time well during your stay at the hospital. Toilets are common for the ward. There is no hot water in the bathroom, so taking bath is optional. Your family members cannot meet you. They can meet the attendant and hand over your tiffin to the attendant. The attendant will hand over the tiffin to you. If your young child is infected, you can help her/him by being with her/him in the quarantine. You cannot get out during the mandatory period. You need to take medication to prevent the infection and also wear a mask at all times.