Thursday, September 10, 2009

All of us here have an idea of what H1N1 is all about, but the question is are we all completely aware and prepared for it?

[Posters educating about swine flu that have been put up all around the campus]
Photo credits: Mrudvi Bakshi
H1N1 (Also known as swine flu) is what you hear and see all around today - H1N1 posters, news constantly flashing on television and not to forget newspapers. The government is playing their role of informing the public through the media but are we taking the information seriously enough and doing what we should be doing or are we just branding it as media hype? And more importantly, what are we as the public doing to prevent it?

It is true that in the U.S most people who have been infected by swine flu have recovered without any medical treatment, but this illness can be mild as well as severe., there have been hospitalizations and deaths that have occurred due to this virus as well.

Let’s cast a look at what precautions the DIAC has been taking as well as what our students and faculty members think about the entire hype surrounding Swine Flu.
[Lisa Franklin Brown, Head of Student Hub]
Photo credits: Mrudvi Bakshi

Lisa Franklin Brown, Head of the DIAC Student Hub, states “We as a team in DIAC have implemented what looks to be preventive measures for H1N1, but it depends on the students as to how seriously they take this issue. We have distributed flyers in every university giving them the link to the ministry of health’s website. Our aim is to work very closely with every university and we expect the universities to do what they are supposed to do when it comes to taking precautions. Universities are expected to cooperate when it comes to keeping a close check on students who have symptoms of flu. Retail outlets have been briefed so they are aware of hygiene and extra precautions that should be taken. We have taken the step of keeping hand sanitizers and dispensers in the washrooms.”

However, few people believe that the flu is receiving much more importance than other deadly diseases that require attention.

Dravasp, a first year student of the media department, says, “It is not required to get too serious about this issue. In India, 116 people have died because of this illness and now the whole world is wearing a mask to prevent it but for years people have been dying of aids and still nobody is ready to take any kind of precaution.”

[Dr Ashok Iyer, Chairperson, Dept. of Interior Design]
Photo credits: Mrudvi Bakshi

Dr. Ashok Iyer, Head of the Interior Designing Department, believes that the media has over hyped the issue a bit too much. However Manipal University has taken the necessary safety measures. “I travelled to India this summer and there was a lot of hype as far as media was concerned. I had gone to a lot of crowded places and life is as normal as ever especially at stations, where you would expect otherwise. A very small number of people were wearing masks. Manipal University is well prepared for swine flu- our campus and the washrooms are all clean. Precautions should be taken by everyone but if we over hype it, students might just find a reason to not attend university. If a student contracts H1N1, they should take care and others should take the necessary precautions,” was what Mr. Iyer had to say.

Debbie, a customer at Skyler’s restaurant thinks that it is for the public to take care of their own health. She says, “You are responsible for yourself. The media should stop over hyping it. The job of spreading awareness has been done; now let people do what they have to.”

Over hyped or not, Swine Flu is definitely something that should not be ignored. Even if we aren’t the victims we should still continue to take precautions for a healthy environment. As far as wearing masks are concerned, one should cooperate with the Ministry of Health and work in accordance to fight the disease. Do keep in mind the following symptoms of H1N1, and consult a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms occur: -
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
 Studies show that this virus can survive on environmental surfaces from 2 to 8 hours. Germs can be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface and then goes on to touch his eyes, nose or mouth. What is important to know, is that H1N1 is not spread by food - meat that is well cooked is safe.

Whether Swine Flu has been over-hyped or not, only time will tell. But we should take all precautions as prevention is better than cure.

Posted by Khadija Ashraf