By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
Published March 7, 2015, Last updated October 21, 2016
Increasing number of cases of Swine Flu
More than 30 patients have died in PGI Chandigarh alone in the last few days of Swine Flu. At the same time, more than 100 patients are admitted and have been confirmed to be suffering from Swine Flu. Speaking of the whole of India, the number of deaths have crossed the 1200 mark. The number of patients who have been diagnosed has crossed the 22,000 mark. When I wrote about Swine flu last month, the number of deaths in Chandigarh were about a dozen which has now crossed 30. These are the reported figures. The reality is that a lot of patients might go unreported. So will a large number of deaths.
Sense of panic in people due to Swine Flu
There is a sense of panic among the people. I was witness to this panic first hand. Just yesterday, I happened to visit a homeopathic chemist shop. In the 15-20 minutes that I stayed there, I saw people coming in and asking for a particular homeopathic medicine. Everyone seemed to have got a message on Whatsapp where a picture of a vial of a homeopathic medicine was shown as a preventive for swine flu. There was no supply of the said medicine as all chemists had run out of stock of that particular medicine. This can be called the power of social media today. At the same time, it showed the sense of panic that is palpable today in the residents of Chandigarh. For the benefit of everyone , I am giving a few tips on how to prevent Swine Flu and how one can use Homeopathy for Swine Flu and its prevention.
Tips for preventing Swine Flu
- The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is that Swine Flu is a viral disease. This virus spreads from one person to another when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The viruses are blown into the air and anyone in the vicinity can catch the infection.
- Also, when an infected person uses his hands to blow his nose or coughs into his hands, the virus sticks to the hands. Anyone coming in direct contact with such a person can be infected. Therefore, do not shake hands with anyone who seems to be having cough or cold.
- Remember the 6 feet rule that I mentioned in the last post. It is sensible to keep a distance of 6 feet from anyone having a cold or cough. That is because the viruses can travel about 4 feet when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is better to keep a safer distance of about 6 feet.
- Also, avoid going out into crowded places. If anyone is having a cold or cough, he or she should stay at home and avoid attending office. The same applies to school going children.
- Keep washing one’s hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. This is all the more necessary when you have been out and meeting people.
N 95 respirator mask for high risk people
For those who have to be at high risk areas like hospitals or with suspected patients, the N95 respirator mask is the best protective gear. It should not be confused with the usual surgical masks. The normal surgical masks are unable to filter out the smaller particles. In contrast with the normal masks, the N 95 respirator mask fits tightly on the wearer. It also filters out smaller particles and is able to protect the wearer. This does not mean that these respirators are foolproof. But they are the best defence available. Also, these should be used by only those people who have to go into high risk areas or are likely to come into contact with affected persons. An unnecessary panic is being spread and serves no useful purpose.
Efficacy of the vaccine for swine flu
While there is a vaccine awailable for swine flu, the efficacy of the same is not 100%. Experts are putting the number at around 50-60%. The reason for this low number is that the vaccine was made from the viral strains that were prevalent in 2009. In 6 years since 2009, the swine flu virus has mutated a lot and changed its structure. Therefore, the vaccine may not be completely effective. At the same time, it must be understood that it takes about 3-4 weeks for the vaccine to become effective. Till that time, the person remains susceptible to the swine flu virus. It is highly recommended that only people at high risk should go in for the vaccine and not the general public. The people who are at risk are health workers working in hospitals and likely to be in direct contact with such patients. Those patients with existing respiratory problems are also likely to be at higher risk. At the same time, diabetics, young children and old people who have low immunity are also likely to be at higher risk.
Homeopathy for Swine Flu and Prevention of Swine Flu
Every day, patients come in and ask if there is something in Homeopathy for Swine Flu. I have had patients come to me with pictures of a vial of Homeopathic medicine, which has been shown as a preventive medicine for Swine Flu. The medicine whose name has gone viral thus happens to be Influenzinum. This medicine has no doubt symptoms that match with that of Swine Flu. But this does not in any way mean that it is the only right medicine. My observation in this case differs slightly. There are other medicines that I feel are much better suited for Swine Flu. That is because the symptoms of swine flu match the symptoms of these medicines much more. At the same time, the prevailing weather conditions in which this epidemic has happened are more suitable for such medicines. Prominent among these medicines are Arsenic Album, Merc Sol and Dulcamara. These medicines are quite suited to the damp cold conditions that are prevailing at this time. During this winter, the weather has been a little more damp than usual. At the same time, the temperatures have been low and that too for quite long a period of time. All the above mentioned Homeopathic remedies for Swine Flu are similarly well suited for such a climate. At the same time, their symptoms are much more in conformity with that of swine flu. Therefore, these three homeopathic remedies for swine flu are much more suitable for its treatment and also for its prevention. If I were to single out one medicine out of these homopathic remedies for swine flu to be used as a preventive, I would give Merc Sol.