Health Department in Coimbatore has urged people to go in for immunisation against H1N1 virus. According to the Deputy Director of Health Services, R. Damodharan, with the rise in cases of the influenza in Coimbatore, it was better if the people went in for immunisation.

He said that the district reported six cases in January, none in February, one in march, 13 in April, six in May, four in June, 11 in July, three in August, 15 in September, 37 in October and 19 thus far in November. Of the 100-plus cases, nearly 50 were from within the Coimbatore Corporation limits.

Members of the public should go in for immunisation not just because of the increase in flu cases, but also because of the virus’ lifespan, given the climate, and the heavy movement of migrant population.

Dr. Damodharan explained that studies had shown that on fomites (inanimate objects capable of carrying infectious organisms) the H1N1 virus could survive for 15 days, on cold water for up to a month and frozen items for up to a year.

One of the biggest challenges in combating the H1N1 virus, he said, was that people with symptoms of fever and sore throat seldom reported at hospitals and preferred to buy drugs over the counter. This was dangerous because there was every possibility of the strain undergoing mutation.

There were four categories based on clinical manifestations. Those under category ‘A’ would suffer mild fever and sore throat with or without diarrhoea or vomiting. It was difficult to locate infected persons because they do not always present themselves for treatment.

Those under ‘B1’ category would suffer severe fever and sore throat and would have to take Oseitanivir tablets but only under strict medical supervision.

Those under ‘B2’ category were persons who were more vulnerable like children between zero and four years of age, those above 65 years, pregnant women, those undergoing medication or treatment for bronchial asthma, allergy lung disease, heart, kidney or liver ailments, etc. Those under ‘C’ category would also suffer from breathlessness, chest pain; their blood pressure would fall and their nail colour could change blue. Such people required immediate hospitalisation.

Dr. Damodharan also said that as a precautionary measure people should clean fomites like television remote controls and mobile phones, wash their hands regularly, reduce their time in crowded places and also avoid touching their nose and mouth.

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