The Directorate of Health Services has issued an advisory on seasonal H1N1 influenza.
Patients with mild fever and cough or sore throat need monitoring and symptomatic treatment. No testing is needed and people should confine themselves at home.
Patients with high grade fever and sore throat require home isolation. However, pregnant women, children less than 5 years and persons over 65 years, immune-compromised patients should be treated with Oseltamavir after consultation with a doctor. No testing is needed unless doctor says so.
Patients with one or more of following symptoms need hospitalisation and treatment and such patients need to be tested for H1Nl also: Breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness, fall in blood pressure, Sputum mixed with blood, children refusing to accept feeds, worsening of underlying chronic conditions.
Triple layer masks should be used by hospital care workers, people over 65 years with COPD, diabetes, cancer, immuno-compromised disease patients. N-95 masks are needed for Laboratory and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) personnel dealing with such H1Nl positive patients. Rest of the populations should not ask or use masks and should wear face masks only when they visit hospitals, where chances of such contacts are more, and otherwise such masks are not needed for routine works.
Vaccination is recommended for all age groups from six months onwards, but high risk groups need to be considered first like: hospital care workers, pregnant women, elderly with COPD, Diabetes, Hepatitis, Cancer and immune-comprised Patients.
"Since H1NI is a seasonal influenza, we are issuing this advisory in public interest. In no way should it be deemed that it's anything to feel panicky about. It's just advice-giving," said Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Epidemiologist Kashmir at DHSK.