Amid rising cases of Covid-19, city doctors on Wednesday also reported seeing a significant surge in Swine Flu cases in the national capital that is also causing an increase in hospitalisation.
Swine flu is a human respiratory infection caused by an influenza strain that started in pigs. Caused by the H1N1 virus strain, it was first recognised in the 1919 pandemic and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009.
In August 2010, the WHO declared the pandemic over. After the pandemic was over, the H1N1 flu virus became one of the strains that cause seasonal flu.
“Apart from Covid, we are observing a higher incidence of swine flu requiring hospitalisation. Some patients might require Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) whose oxygen requirement is not sufficiently met with even very high ventilator support,” Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and HOD – Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, told IANS.
Both Covid-19 and swine flu look similar as both are respiratory viruses. Common signs and symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body ache, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea.
According to Dr. Vishakh Varma, Senior Consultant & HOD Critical Care Medicine Aakash Healthcare, since the symptoms of swine flu are quite similar to the common cold as well as Covid, “people often don’t take it seriously in the initial stages until it becomes critical”.
“A swine flu patient usually goes through a burning/sore throat, nose and abdominal pain and cough. There is an additional symptom of shortness of breath,” Varma said.
Similar to Covid, swine flu also raises risk to older adults, people with certain medical underlying medical conditions and pregnant women.
“We would like to urge the public to be aware that they should undergo a medical test if they experience coughing, severe difficulty in breathing, and a decrease in oxygen levels. We are now testing all the patients who are coming with respiratory issues and even performing multiplex PCR for assessment and detection. This is to prevent serious damage to lungs due to lack of right diagnosis and treatment,” Maurya said.
“It’s imperative to maintain good hydration, hand hygiene, cough hygiene (cough and sneezing in disposable tissue), and suitable disposal of this infected waste material,” added Varma.
Varma also recommended to “get vaccinated with a quadriplegic flu vaccine shot before the peak of the season and for health care/ high-risk cases”.