How to stay away from bird flu, doctors explain

How to stay away from bird flu, doctors explain

Poultry farm workers must take precaution as they are easily affected by bird flu. While no cases have been reported in Bengaluru, it is ideal that safety measures be taken, doctors say.

Dr Vijay Mohan Reddy, District Health Officer, Bengaluru Urban, said workers in poultry farms should use hand gloves and face masks to avoid coming in contact with the virus if the birds are affected. “If they see bird deaths, they should immediately report to the authorities concerned and get the area quarantined,” he said.

According to Dr Reddy, in human beings, the symptoms of Avian Influenza resemble any typical flu. “It is a self-limiting flu. But immunocompromised individuals, the aged, children, pregnant women and those with other ailments such as diabetes are easily affected,” he said.

Should anyone be suspected to be carrying the virus, blood samples should be immediately sent to the National Institute of Virology at Nimhans, Bengaluru, for examination. If the sample tests positive, the individual must be quarantined.

Dr Shivakumar, project co-ordinator, communicable diseases, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), said one of the primary precautions is to maintain hand hygiene. Consumption of raw meat and raw eggs must be avoided.

Personal hygiene is the key in containing this virus. Should any patient be admitted to a hospital with suspected avian flu, doctors, paramedics and staff nurses must ensure they themselves take precaution. They must wear hand gloves and avoid direct contact with the patients as the fever spreads easily through contact. They should wear the N95 masks while attending to the patient. They must not attend to any other patient without washing their hands thoroughly after seeing patients with this flu, he said.

According to Dr Shivakumar, many people may have developed resistance to H1N1 (Swine Flu) over the years, but it doesn’t meant they have great immunity against H5N1 (Avian Flu) too. The typical symptoms of bird flu will be fever, body ache along with sever cold and cough. Sometimes patients may come with rashes too, he said.

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