Archive for August, 2009


Thursday, August 13th, 2009
There have been some cases of Influenza A H1N1 virus among students and staff in certain schools, primarily in Delhi and Maharashtra. There has been considerable speculation over the need for closure of schools to control the outbreak. This matter has been considered by the Joint Monitoring Group in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. All schools and colleges are advised to observe the following guidelines for managing cases of infection of Influenza AH1N1.

  • (i) Any student or staff member showing flu like symptoms such as fever, cough, running nose and difficulty in breathing should be allowed to stay at home for a period of 7 to 10 days.
  • (ii) Educational institutions should not insist on production of medical certificate by the student/staff.
  • (iii) Educational institutions should monitor the health status of such students/staff who might have come in contact with a suspected case of Influenza AH1N1 to see whether they develop flu like symptoms. In case they do so, they should be allowed to stay home, as outlined at (i) above
  • (iv) In case of students staying in Hostels, the educational institutions would not only monitor the health status of the students, but also that of care providers. It has to be ensured that the care providers wear face mask and wash hands regularly. It might not be advisable to send the boarders back to home, as it would spread infection further.
  • (v) Educational institutions are further encouraged to report such cases to local health officers for further monitoring.
  • (vi) Given the current magnitude of the spread of AH1N1 infection and the fact that the current virus is fairly mild, closure of educational institutions on account of any student/staff member falling ill with flu like symptoms is not recommended.
  • (vii) In the first place, the schools should discourage the excursions of the students to the affected countries.
  • (viii) In case if the students had proceeded to affected countries on unavoidable tours, then on their return, if some students show flu like symptoms of fever, sore- throat , cough , body ache, running nose, difficulty breathing etc. they should be advised to abstain from attending school and be allowed to stay at home for a period of 7 to 10 days.

Source: MoHFW

Tips & Precautions to be taken at schools – Swine Flu / H1N1 virus

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

* Avoid close contact with people who are sick

* People who are sick with an influenza-like illness should stay home and keep away from others as much as possible, including avoiding travel, for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine). Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

* Wash your hands often

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

    Source: CDC

    Swine Flu, H1N1: Precautions one should take at home?

    Thursday, August 13th, 2009

    Two things – soap and water can reduce the chance of infection by 30 per cent. All you need to do is keep washing your hand with soap and water frequently. Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand cleaner when soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

    Eat healthy
    : Proteins are essential to help your body maintain and build strength. Lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.

    The Food and Drug Administration recommends that adults eat 50 grams of protein per day. Pregnant and nursing women need more. By eating foods high in protein, we also get the benefit of other healing nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.

    Vitamin B6 is widely available in foods, including protein foods such as turkey and beans as well as potatoes, spinach, and enriched cereal grains. Proteins such as meats, milk, and fish also contain vitamin B12, a powerful immune booster.

    Minerals such as selenium and zinc work to keep the immune system strong. These minerals are found in protein rich foods such as beans, nuts, meat, and poultry.

    Exercise: Regular exercise may help prevent the flu. According to recent findings, when moderate exercise is repeated on a near daily basis, there is a cumulative immune-enhancing effect. That is, your strong immune system can fight flu better. When you exercise, your white blood cells — the blood cells that fight infections in the body — travel through your body more quickly, fighting bacteria and viruses (such as flu) more efficiently. To maintain good health, experts recommend at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity such as walking, swimming, biking, or running each day.

    Source: Flu India website, CDC, WebMD

    How can Swine Flu / H1N1 be prevented? Tips & Precautions

    Thursday, August 13th, 2009

    Influenza antiviral drugs also can be used to prevent influenza when they are given to a person who is not ill, but who has been or may be near a person with swine influenza. When used to prevent the flu, antiviral drugs are about 70% to 90% effective. When used for prevention, the number of days that they should be used will vary depending on a person’s particular situation.

    Follow this general procedure to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus, you should:

    * Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, using a tissue
    * Throw the tissue away quickly and carefully
    * Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
    * Clean hard surfaces (like door handles and remote controls) frequently with a normal cleaning product
    * Keep away from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick. Do not go to work or school while ill
    * Stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
    * Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated
    * Wear a facemask – if available and tolerable – when sharing common spaces with other household members to help prevent spreading the virus to others.

    Source: CDC, National Health Service, UK website

    How does Swine flu virus spread?

    Thursday, August 13th, 2009

    The new swine flu virus is highly contagious, that is it spreads from person to person. The virus is spread through the droplets that come out of the nose or mouth when someone coughs or sneezes. If someone coughs or sneezes and they do not cover it, those droplets can spread about one metre (3ft). If you are very nearby you might breathe them in.

    Or, if someone coughs or sneezes into their hand, those droplets and the virus within them are easily transferred to surfaces that the person touches, such as door handles, hand rails, telephones and keyboards. If you touch these surfaces and touch your face, the virus can enter your system, and you can become infected.

    Source: National Health Service, UK website

    Swine flu symptoms

    Thursday, August 13th, 2009

    What are the symptoms?

    Swine flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular flu and include fever of over 100.4°F, fatigue, lack of appetite, and cold. Some people with swine flu have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Nearly everyone with flu has at least two of these symptoms.

    So, how do you know if you have flu or just cold?
    There is one clue: when you have the flu, you feel flu symptoms sooner than you would cold symptoms, and they come on with much greater intensity. With the flu, you may feel very weak and fatigued for up to 2 or 3 weeks. You’ll have muscle aches and periods of chills and sweats as fever comes and goes. You may also have a stuffy or runny nose, headache, and sore throat.

    Can I compare flu symptoms with cold symptoms?
    Yes. The following chart can help you compare flu symptoms with cold symptoms. Use it to lean the differences and similarities between flu and cold symptoms. Then, if you get flu symptoms, call your doctor and ask about an antiviral drug.

    Symptoms Cold Flu
    Fever Rare Characteristic, high 100-102 degrees F); lasts 3-4 days
    Headache Rare Prominent
    General aches, pains Slight Usual; often severe
    Fatigue, Weakness Quite mild Can last up to 2-3 weeks
    Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and prominent
    Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
    Chest Discomfort,Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe

    You cannot confirm if you have swine flu just based on your symptoms. Like seasonal flu, pandemic swine flu can cause neurologic symptoms in children. These events are rare, but, as cases associated with seasonal flu have shown, they can be very severe and often fatal.

    Doctors may offer a rapid flu test, but what you need to understand is a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have the flu. Only lab tests can definitively show whether you’ve got swine flu. State health departments can do these tests.

    Source: WebMD

    Complications & Transmission Of Swine Flu / Influenza

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

    Complications Of Swine Influenza

    Those at higher risk of catching influenza in general include those with the following:

    * Age of 65 years or older
    * Chronic health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
    * Pregnant women
    * Young children

    But the past epidemics and pandemics of flu have shown that during pandemics most people who succumb are healthy young adults.

    Complications of Swine Flu can include:

    * Pneumonia
    * Bronchitis
    * Sinus infections
    * Ear infections
    * Death

    Transmission of Swine Flu (How does Swine Flu spread?)

    As with other flu like illnesses, Swine influenza is spread as follows:

    * Coughing
    * Sneezing
    * Kissing
    * Touching infected objects
    * Touching nose, mouth and/or eyes with infected hands
    * Swine flu does not spread by eating pork.

    Read: Homeopathy medicine as prevention for SWINE FLU for kids.


    Treatment of Narcolepsy : Medications

    Sunday, August 9th, 2009

    The main symptom of narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness, can be partially relieved with stimulants such as modafinil (Provigil), methylphenidate (Ritalin and other brand names) or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), as well as with regularly scheduled short naps during the day.

    Cataplexy and sleep paralysis can be treated with a variety of medicines that can make you more resistant to entering REM sleep. Most of these medicines were developed for use as antidepressants. Examples of effective medications include protriptyline (Vivactil), clomipramine (Anafranil), venlafaxine (Effexor) and fluoxetine (Prozac). Cataplexy also can be treated with sodium oxybate (also called gamma hydroxybutyrate or Xyrem), although the use of this drug is tightly controlled because it has been abused recreationally. For reasons that are not well understood, a low dose of this medicine reduces cataplexy attacks and improves daytime sleepiness in people who have narcolepsy with cataplexy, even though the drug causes sedation in most people without narcolepsy.

    Psychological counseling may be important for difficulties associated with self-esteem and for emotional support, especially since people with narcolepsy have difficulty doing tasks that require concentration, and may be regarded as unmotivated by family and peers.


    What are Symptoms of Narcolepsy

    Friday, August 7th, 2009

    The main symptoms of narcolepsy include:

    • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) – overwhelming drowsiness and an uncontrollable need to sleep during the day
    • Cataplexy – the sudden loss of involuntary muscle tone that may be triggered by sudden emotional reactions such as laughter, anger, surprise, or fear. A study found that people with narcolepsy with cataplexy have low levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-1.
    • Vivid hallucinations upon sleep onset or awakening
    • Short episodes of total paralysis at the beginning or end of sleep

    Additional symptoms include restless nighttime sleep and automatic behavior. Automatic behavior is when someone continues to function (talking, putting things away, etc.) during episodes of sleep but has no memory of performing the actions upon awakening.


    What is Narcolepsy : An Overview

    Monday, August 3rd, 2009

    Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder with no known cause. Its onset can occur at any time throughout life, but its peek onset is during the teen years. The main characteristic of narcolepsy is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness, even after adequate nighttime sleep.

    A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep, often at inappropriate times and places. Daytime sleep attacks may occur with or without warning and may be rresistible. They may also experience periods of catalepsy, temporary decrease or loss of muscle control, especially when getting excited. Hypnagogic hallucinations, vivid, often frightening, dream-like experiences, occur while falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis, temporary inability to talk or move when falling asleep or waking up. It may last a few seconds to minutes. In addition, nighttime sleep may be fragmented with frequent awakenings. Daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations can also occur in people who do not have narcolepsy. If sufficiently troublesome can be reduced significantly in some people with Tricyclic antidepressants (eg. Imipramine), which suppress REM sleep.


    How to Treat Dysentery ?

    Monday, August 3rd, 2009

    The treatment of dysentery aims at:

    • Removing the faecal and toxic matter from the intestines
    • Alleviating the painful symptoms
    • Stopping the virulence of the bacteria
    • Promoting the healing of the ulcer.

    Here are a few treatments to go ahead with treating this disease in its acute form.

    • The patient should fast as long as acute symptoms are present, where he should intake only orange juice and water. Alternatively, the patient should also subsist on buttermilk till the acute symptoms are over, since buttermilk combats offending bacteria and helps establishment of helpful microorganisms in the intestines.
    • The patient may also be given small doses of castor oil, since this acts as a mild prerogative and facilitates quicker removal of offensive matter, minimizes the strain during motion and also acts as a lubricant to the ulcerated surfaces.
    • The removal of accumulated poisonous matter should be attempted by giving very low-pressure enema, twice or thrice daily.
    • The patient should also take complete bed rest as movement induces pain and aggravates distressing symptoms.
    • A hot water bag may also be applied over the abdomen.