Swine-flu (H1N1)

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Awareness About Swine-flu (H1N1)

India is grappling with a swine flu epidemic. The death toll from swine flu this year has soared to 585 with 100 more casualties reported across the country in three days since February 12.

Altogether, 8,423 people have contracted swine flu this year in the country.

Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are the worst-affected states with their respective tolls standing at 165, 144, 76 and 58, official figures said. And with cases on the rise, there is heightened panic among people.

These measures helps to prevent swine flu (H1N1 flu) and limit its spread:

 

  • Stay home if you’re sick.

           If you have swine flu (H1N1 flu), you can give it to others. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

           Use soap and water, or if they’re unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Contain your coughs and sneezes.

           Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow.

  • Avoid contact.

          Stay away from crowds if possible. And if you’re at high risk of complications from the flu — for example, you’re younger than 5 or you’re 65 or older, you’re pregnant, or you have a chronic medical condition such as asthma — consider avoiding swine barns at seasonal fairs and elsewhere.

  • Reduce exposure within your household.

           If a member of your household has swine flu, designate only one household member to be responsible for the ill person’s personal care.

 

More than 50% of subjects in two studies and 100% of subjects in the other study were of the opinion that frequent hand washing and use of sanitizer are one of the effective methods to prevent swine flu. Wearing a surgical mask, undergoing vaccination for swine flu and quarantine were other less preventive methods cited by study subjects.

Pandemic outbreak caused by H1N1 virus and other infectious disease agents still remains the biggest threat to human beings due to high mortality rate associated with their infections. The present review concluded that majority of the subjects had substantial knowledge regarding swine flu, yet there were notable deficiencies regarding the transmission, preventive measures and availability of vaccine. The present review emphasizes the need for appropriate training regarding infectious diseases during the undergraduate dental curriculum and continuous education programs after graduation.

Dental professionals and dental students must play an active role in ongoing research regarding swine flu and its prevention. This may increase the awareness of the disease amongst dentists, and may also highlight the important role that they can play in decreasing the mortality during future disease outbreaks. As only three studies have been assessed the validity reduces and we cannot generalize the results. As the present review only found three studies that were conducted among dental professionals’ knowledge regarding swine flu, there is urgent need for similar studies to be conducted in every part of the country.

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