Experts divided over flu guidelines


Experts say it is difficult to differentiate between swine flu and common flu symptoms. This problem may confound the school authorities, but according to Dr Buggi, if a school-going child develops any swine flu-like symptoms, including fever and cough, the child should be immediately checked. “If the child is found positive, then the entire class should be checked,” he suggested.

In the context of the Central directive, he pointed out there were a lot of patients who refused to get themselves admitted at RGICD. With the new guidelines implemented, home-quarantine will be encouraged.

Doctor’s decision

The new stipulations also give freedom to doctors of the designated hospitals to decide on the patient’s treatment procedures which say, “The decision of the doctor of the notified hospital about admitting the patient would be final”. 

Communicable Diseases Joint Director Dr Cheluvaraj said though the Centre’s guidelines will have to followed, he was “not very convinced with the instruction that final decisions will be taken by doctors of notified hospitals.”

However, Resident Medical Officer of Lakeside Medical Centre and Hospital Dr Raviraj welcomed the new guidelines. “Right now we are having few patients. When more patients test positive, we cannot admit all of them,” he contended.  Home-quarantine is a good option, provided necessary instructions are given to the patient about isolation and hygiene.

If the number of cases increases, then home-quarantine is the option, agreed former UNICEF Programme Director Dr Seenappa. “When home-stay is advised to a positive patient, we also need to educate the family members and the neighbourhoold about the spread of H1N1flu. Enough precautions must be taken to make sure no one gets infected by this affected person.”

Apart from screening and treating the patients, it is also important to spread awareness among general public about H1N1, its symptoms and cure, he added.

Meanwhile, the other designated hospitals notified to admit H1N1 Influenza patients — Victoria and Lakeside Hospital — admitted one patient each but still haven’t received the new guidelines.

Medical Superintendent of Victoria Hospital Dr B G Tilak said: “I have not received any new guidelines, I have just admitted one suspected patient with flu-like symptoms.”

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