NMMC says avoid handshakes, hugs over fears of swine flu

Jun 20, 2013, 03:08 IST | Richa Pinto and Anuradha Varanasi

Officials from the health department of the civic body have distributed over one lakh pamphlets instructing locals on taking steps to avoid contracting the virus

If you notice fewer people shaking hands and hugging one another in the satellite city, it’s not because the citizens have become less friendly but that they are following the directives by the health department.

Representation pic

In a bid to curb the spread of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has issued pamphlets asking citizens to avoid handshakes and hugging. 

Officials from the health department in the satellite city have issued around 1 lakh such pamphlets among citizens to create a wider awareness about the various kinds of air and water-borne diseases that are known to spread during the rains every year.

Last year, during the monsoon, 27 people had been detected with swine flue while 98 others were suspected of contracting the virus. On June 13, 2012, a teenager detected with the virus succumbed to it.

Hence, this year, with the onset of the monsoons, officials from the health department have taken substantial steps to avoid the contraction of the flu. “As a preventive measure, pamphlets are being distributed by us on how people can avoid the flue.

The leaflets are being handed out with regional newspapers and are specifically being distributed among the high-risk areas, where there are higher chances of the virus spreading.

The current climate is a perfect setting for the virus to sustain in and therefore, we are taking all necessary steps,” said Dr Ramesh Nikam, medical officer, health.

When asked why they had asked people to refrain from shaking hands and hugs, he added, “There is a chance of the virus spreading through handshakes and hugging one another. So, we decided to take all necessary precautions.”

Extra care
Till now, this year, only one case of swine flu has been detected but with the ushering of the monsoons, NMMC officials are being extra cautious. Presently, there are two isolation wards — one at the NMMC hospital in Vashi and the other at DY Patil Hospital in Nerul.

> Prolonged fever coupled with cough and cold
> Trouble in breathing (breathlessness)
> Continuous throat pain
> Continuous vomiting

Dos and don’ts
> Cover your mouth while coughing
> Avoid crowding or human gatherings
> Wash hands before eating and after visiting the toilet
> Wash hands after coughing 

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