Palakkad: The state health department has warned that H1N1 flu is likely to break out in the state. The department is concerned as the disease, which is normally detected during the months of June-July, has been reported in September-October.

Many cases of H1N1 flu is reported from other states also. Last year, 1546 persons were affected with the disease and 76 of them died. 304 persons were affected this year and 14 of them died. The unavailability of H1N1 medicine in private hospitals is the major reason for the rapid spreading of the disease.

The delay in consuming the medicine can lead to death. Doctors said that they prescribe Oseltamivir antiviral medicine for the flu. The virus can be eliminated if 75 mg medicine is consumed twice a day for five days.

The H1N1 flu has three stages, namely A, B and C. Medication has to be started in the B stage itself. In case of any delay in starting medication, the disease will advance to next stage decreasing the chances of saving the patient.

The health department had directed last year itself that the medicine should be stocked in private hospitals. Also, the procedures to make the medicine available has been simplified. However, the medicine is out of stock in many of the private hospitals. Patients depend on government hospitals and Neethi medical stores.

Dr. K. J. Reena, Additional Director of Public Health, said that they had issued an alert in all districts since August. The alert was issued six times. As it is an air-borne disease, the flu is likely to spread rapidly.

If medicine is stocked in private hospitals and provided to the patients free, the deaths due to H1N1 can be avoided, she added.

Common symptoms of H1N1

  • Fever lasting for more than two days
  • Phlegm
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body pain
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain