Frequently asked questions about flu / swine flu

What is influenza?
Influenza or flu is a common contagious illness that spreads every year from October through winter. The symptoms are cough, fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches fatigue cough, headache and a runny or stuffy nose. In children it can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Most people will have only a mild illness but in some people it can cause disease and even death. Flu can make some people much sicker than others. These people include young children less than 2 years of age, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions — such as heart, lung or kidney disease, nervous system disorders, or a weakened immune system.

How does the virus spread?
The virus is spread from person-to-person. It is transmitted as easily as the normal seasonal flu and can be passed to other people by exposure to infected droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled. Or that can contaminate hands or surface.
How soon will I get sick if I am exposed to the flu?
The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus to when symptoms come is about one to four days, with an average of about two days.

What are the precautions against flu?
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
• Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze
• Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. Clean hands save lives
• Avoid touching your eyes nose or mouth. Germs spread that way
• Stay home if you get sick. Please stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them

Where can I get tested?
You can get tested at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, Srinagar or Chopra Nursing Home, Government Medial College, Jammu, for influenza flu.

What should I do if I get sick?
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness contact your doctor. Take OTC (Over the counter) drugs like Paracetamol for your fever.

What are the signs of danger in an adult?
Fast breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion. Please seek medical advice soon in such case.

Who are likely to get complications?
Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. People with diseases like asthma, neurological conditions, chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis, heart disease, blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease), diabetes, patients with chronic kidney or liver disorders, patients with a weakened immune system such as those suffering from AIDS, cancer or those who are on steroids, people younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and people who are morbidly obese.

Can flu be treated?
Yes it can be treated by using antiviral drugs prescribed by a doctor, these can help to prevent serious complications.

What is the department of health & medical education doing to help people against flu?
The department of Health & Medical Education is keeping a close watch on the disease by getting information from all 22 districts on a daily basis about the number of cases of respiratory tract infection. There is daily surveillance from OPD patients and hospitalized case. The date is collected, collated and analyzed for any anomaly. Any clustering of case is investigated and samples are collected symptomatic, treatment is provided on spot to the affected population.

Issued in public interest by: National Health Mission, Jammu and Kashmir
(Health and Medical Education Department, Jammu and Kashmir)