The similarities between the symptoms of the new swine flu strain, influenza A(H1N2)v, and COVID-19, particularly respiratory issues, has raised concerns whether we could be facing a situation similar to the recent pandemic.
To shed light on the matter, mobility experts, Senior Stairlifts sought the expertise of experienced GP and healthcare professional, Dr Vjay Nayar, Doctor of Healthium Clinic.
Dr Nayar said: “Recently a new strain of swine flu has been detected in the UK for the first time. The patient concerned apparently had a mild illness and has fully recovered.
“The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is monitoring the situation and has increased surveillance. However, there is no evidence that this new strain of swine flu is being transmitted between humans and should not be cause for concern at this stage.
“I advise patients with flu-like symptoms to rest, increase fluids, and avoid contact with others, especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, to limit the spread of the infection.”
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Kieran Harris, founder of Senior Stairlifts, explained while this new strain of swine flu may not become as disastrous as COVID-19, it’s important to realise that respiratory illnesses carry a significant risk, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
He said: “The elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk of severe complications from respiratory infections. They should be cautious with this news as they often face higher risks of complications and hospitalisation. I’m constantly advising my clients on the importance of wrapping up warm and keeping their heating on where possible to stay safe and healthy.”
Dr Nayar added: “Cold temperatures can further suppress the immune system as well as increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots, leading to strokes and heart attacks.
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“More calories are required to stay warm so it is important to have regular meals with something warm at each meal. Only going out when necessary can reduce the risk of falls but it is good to stay active indoors by walking around or even just standing at times.”
From the experiences of the 2009 swine flu pandemic and COVID-19, it’s evident that quick and effective public health measures are critical to controlling the spread of the new strain. Dr Nayar emphasised the importance of vaccination as a preventive measure.
He said: “It is really important for these vulnerable groups to have their influenza and Covid vaccines along with keeping warm over the winter months.”
Kieran recalled the “distressing” scenes he witnessed during the pandemic when working closely with the elderly.
He stressed that monitoring and testing measures must be implemented to detect and contain any potential outbreaks early on, especially within high-risk groups.
While it’s uncertain whether the new swine flu strain is a cause for concern, it is important to learn from past experiences. Dr Nayar urged the public to stay informed and follow official guidance.
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