Time for flu shot in Kashmir

Time for flu shot in Kashmir
A health worker prepares a vaccination dose as he stands in the middle of a paddy field to administer jab to farmers in north Kashmir's Pattan on Saturday, 5 June 2021.File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Ahead of winters in Kashmir, the medical experts here suggest that people should take influenza vaccine to prevent H1N1 infection commonly known as swine flu.

According to experts anyone above the age of 6 months should get the shot. “Vaccines meant for northern hemisphere shall be taken in Kashmir while Jammu and rest of the country gets southern hemisphere vaccines (sic),” Professor and HoD Community Medicine GMC Srinagar Dr S. Muhammad Salim Khan wrote on his twitter handle.

Talking to Greater Kashmir Dr Khan said over the last five to six years, many people had been attacked by the H1N1 every year and it was necessary for the people to take a flu shot to protect themselves from the respiratory disease.

In Kashmir, he said, people get infected by H1N1 during winters. “People at high risk, elderly and co-morbid should get a flu shot in September itself. It is also necessary for the general population,” he said. He said in the past few years, some patients who were admitted in SKIMS Soura died because of H1N1. “Surprisingly, most of them were young. So keeping in view our past experience we need to remain cautious in advance,” he said.

The H1N1 flu, commonly known as swine flu, is primarily caused by the H1N1 strain of the flu (influenza) virus. H1N1 is a type of influenza ‘A’ virus, and H1N1 is one of several flu virus strains that can cause the seasonal flu. Symptoms of the H1N1 flu are the same as those of the seasonal flu.

“September is the right time for taking flu shots,” he said.

He said people who have already taken both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can get a flu shot anytime.

“Those who are due for the first or second dose can take both the vaccines together on two different arms. Or If they are due for Covid-19 they can wait for two weeks and take it after Covid19 vaccine,” he said. Dr Khan said vaccines do not protect during illnesses so people have to take it before they get attacked by the flu.

“Taking a flu shot should be made an annual exercise. Anyone who has done it already some two or three years ago should take a flu shot again,” he said.

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