Kashmir Indepth

DAK pitches for separate swine flu clinics at Kashmir hospitals

Srinagar, Jan 29: With the surge in a number of swine flu cases and 15 deaths so far this season in Kashmir valley due to the virus, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday urged health authorities in Kashmir to set up separate outpatient clinics for swine flu patients.

“Separate flu clinics in hospitals will prevent the spread of swine flu and will save lives,” said DAK President and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communiqué.

He said these clinics will end intermingling of flu patients with those suffering from other ailments.

“Segregation of flu patients in hospitals will protect other patients from contracting the disease,” he added.

Dr Nisar said hospitals have an influx of patients with chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and cancer in whom swine flu can prove fatal.

He said though SKIMS and SMHS hospitals have isolation wards, they are not created as per the guidelines.

Dr Nisar said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines say that an isolation ward should have separate cubicles with special exhausts to create “negative pressure” while the distance between two beds should be minimum three feet. The negative pressure will prevent contaminated air from escaping the room. These isolation rooms should be fitted with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that would catch and remove the virus from the air.

“For screening and treatment of swine flu patients, the staff has to be dedicated. That means doctors and paramedical staff treating swine flu patients should not attend to other patients in the hospital,” he said.

“While flu spreads every year timing, severity and length of flu is unpredictable and can vary from season to season

In 2015 when we thought worst was over, there was a sudden spike of cases in February.

CDC in its weekly report has said that flu activity is increasing and swine flu is the dominant circulating strain.

We are expecting a lot more flu coming down the road and we must not lower our guard”, cautioned Dr Nisar.

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