The Delhi Government’s Health Department has asked the Capital’s citizens to be on guard against swine flu as the number of cases being reported in Delhi continues to climb.

Doctors too are now trying to reach out to the public cautioning it against aiding the spread of the flu and asking them to report to a designated health centre immediately in case of need.

The Delhi Medical Association has come out with guidelines for doctors to identify and send for testing persons who display flu-like symptoms.

Association president Dr. Naresh Chawla said: “Through the guideline we are equipping our doctors to help patients with flu-like symptoms to avail of medical help in time as deaths caused in the city because of flu can be attributed to delay in detection and reaching the designated health care centre.’’

Heart Care Foundation of India president Dr. K. K. Aggarwal said: “The new mantra for offices should be telecommuting, flexible work hours and keeping employees six feet apart to reduce the spread and impact of swine flu.”

“Employers need to remain flexible as the winter flu season approaches because the extent and severity of the outbreak remains uncertain,’’ he said conducting a workshop for doctors at Moolchand Hospital here over the weekend.

Dr. Aggarwal also noted that as more people might get affected by both swine flu and seasonal flu in the coming months every establishment needs to have a swine flu action plan in place. Every employer should know that if employees exhibit flu-like symptoms, they shouldn’t come to work.

“Some of the key points for employers include encouraging good flu-preventive hygiene such as frequent hand washing, routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces and “coughing etiquette” such as covering a cough or sneeze with tissue or a sleeve. If workers do get sick, one should separate them from other employees while they await transport home and encourage them to stay away from work for 24 hours after the fever has ended. Workers should not be penalised or discouraged from taking sick leave. Employers can also work towards minimising person-to-person contact if the situation warrants it. This might include telecommuting from home, staggering shifts and spreading essential business knowledge among workers to ensure smooth workflow if a key employee becomes ill,’’ added Dr. Aggarwal.

Doctors also say that swine flu could be more severe than it was expected and additional precautions might be advised then, which could include keeping sick workers home for a week after symptoms resolve. And it might also involve implementing a “six-foot rule”, asking workers to maintain that distance from co-workers to help avoid transmission of the virus.

Keywords: Swine FluA(H1N1)

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