‘EYE-FLU’ | 4300 confirmed cases in 2 weeks in Kashmir
Srinagar: At least 4300 cases of conjunctivitis, commonly known as eye flu, have been confirmed from various parts of Kashmir in the past two weeks.
Eye specialists have advised that the infection is usually self-limiting and avoiding close contact with infected people could help stop the spread.
The data from Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) reveals that 4352 people with conjunctivitis had been provided treatment at various district level health facilities.
The figures suggest that Anantnag and Baramulla districts were the worst affected, with 781 and 785 cases.
The two districts have full-fledged ophthalmology departments in the GMCs located at the district headquarters.
District Srinagar had 625 cases of eye flu recorded at DHSK managed health facilities.
A health official said that the data from Srinagar might be an understatement, as it does not include figures from GMC Srinagar and other hospitals.
District Pulwama also had 627 cases, while Shopian had 511 cases in the past two weeks.
All other districts of Kashmir and Jammu division have also borne the brunt of conjunctivitis.
Eye flu has also been reported from many other parts of India.
The official data reveals that the condition affects people from all age groups and that there are no long-term complications.
The redness takes one to two weeks to clear up. The symptoms include red eyes with thick secretions. It may or may not be accompanied by other flu symptoms.
HoD Ophthalmology GMC Srinagar, Prof Sabia Rashid said that the department sees 20-30 people with conjunctivitis every day.
“The numbers are falling now,” she said.
Prof Sabia advised that people must avoid close contact with infected individuals to stop the spread.
Recently, the DHSK issued an advisory to control the spread of the condition. The advisory called for maintaining optimal hygiene and emphasised frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after touching the face or contaminated surfaces.
“In situations where soap and water aren’t available, opt for hand sanitiser containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching the eyes to prevent germ transfer. Steer clear of infected individuals, as conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Refrain from sharing personal items and ensure surfaces prone to virus contact are regularly disinfected. Consider wearing eye protection when in close proximity to infected individuals. Employ respiratory etiquette by covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of tissues properly. Prevent eye rubbing to curb virus spread. Stay home if infected and seek guidance from a healthcare professional before resuming activities. Adhere to contact lens guidelines, replace lenses and cases regularly, and maintain cleanliness in shared environments. Lastly, avoid swimming pools to prevent further transmission,” the advisory stated.