Preventing Swine Flu EPIDEMIC
The greatest danger of an air-borne disease is that it has the potential to spread like wildfire if proper preventive and curative measures are not taken up in time. The back-bone of preventive measures lies in launching a massive awareness campaign through all available means
Infectious or communicable diseases spread from time to time and take epidemic forms. Their mode of spread is mostly through four routes and are termed accordingly as water-borne, food-borne, air-borne and arthropod (insects or mosquitoes) borne diseases. Spread of water or food-borne diseases can be easily contained because source of contamination is easily detectable. Incidence of such diseases in epidemic form mostly takes place in big fairs like Kumbh Mela or in communities where sewerage facilities are badly lacking. However, it requires massive efforts to prevent the air-borne or arthropod-borne diseases. Again controlling viral diseases is all the more difficult because virus being a non-living agent is not killed by antibiotic medicines. Anti-viral drugs only give symptomatic treatment and reduce the ill-effects. Swine flu is both viral and air borne.
Tribune is the only newspaper to highlight every case of swine flu death occurring in northern states very prominently. Electronic media is busy only in devouring political and other non-issue and rarely talks about this disease in the discussion panels. Now, general public has started showing concern and consternation about the spreading of swine flu disease in epidemic form after the media reported the occurrence of 660 deaths due to swine flu till 19.02.2015 and maximum deaths occurring in three states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Telengana. The state governments did take some measures on the curative aspect of the disease but acted very lethargically in taking preventive measures. Govt. of India was conspicuous by its silence.
The greatest danger of an air-borne disease is that it has the potential to spread like wildfire if proper preventive and curative measures are not taken up in time. The back-bone of preventive measures lies in launching a massive awareness campaign through all available means i.e. press, electronic media, radio, institutions, pamphlets, handbills etc. So far no such effort has been made by the respective governments. Every air-borne communicable disease is a season specific and swine flu is no exception. Doctors tell that swine flu has taken epidemic form because of prolonged winter this year and it will subside automatically once the sun starts shining brightly to reduce the virility of the virus in the air. So we have to wait for three weeks more to pass the buck. Doctors also tell that swine flu is fatal only in cases where victims are already suffering from some debilitating diseases like diabetes, lung infections or under nourishment. Since symptoms of swine flu are not easily distinguishable from other common cold diseases, suspected cases are much more than actual positive or confirmed cases. CMO Hissar has reported that out of 140 samples sent to test labs, only 12 were found to be positive. Therefore, with this background knowledge of swine flu infection, following preventive measures can be taken to effectively check the spread of this dreaded disease:
1) The Govt. should immediately launch an aggressive and sustained awareness campaign about the curative and preventive measures to be taken up by the authorities and the general public.
2) People should wear warm clothes till the scrouge of swine flu is over probably by 15th March due to change in the season.
3) The government should pass an order for all the work places that any person showing slight symptoms of common cold should not be taken on duty and sent on compulsory leave.
4) People should avoid journeys till 15th March and visiting crowded places as well.
5) People should wear masks whenever they have to visit hospitals or other affected colonies.
6) One should always be in the look-out for any person showing slight symptoms of common cold in his close proximity and keep a safe distance of 3m from him.
7) One should keep a higher level of body resistance (immunity) by taking proper diet, sleeping well, avoid strenuous work and taking some prophylactic Ayurvedic, Bio-chemic or Homeopathiic medicines.
8) If any person develops symptoms of common cold, he or she should neither get panicky or casual and go to the nearest hospital for consultation and treatment by wearing a mask. If he requires in-house treatment, then he should be kept in a isolated room so that the family members do not contract disease from the patient.
If the state government take these preventive steps, the spread of swine flu will be effectively checked and public at large will be saved from contracting this disease.
By R N Malik