Srinagar, Oct 17: Swine flu has raised its head in Kashmir with a woman tested positive at SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), said Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesdayurging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

President DAK and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communiqué said people should get vaccinated now before flu starts spreading widely.

“Vaccination is the single best defense against swine flu, he said adding it protects you and people around you from getting flu.”

Dr Hassan said flu is unpredictable. We can’t know what will happen in coming days, but there is a chance we could have a bad season. Vaccine is the only tool we have right now to prevent flu.

“Getting a flu shot early reduces illnesses, doctors’ visits, hospitalization and death,” he said.

“This years flu vaccine has been updated to protect against the mutated swine flu strain,”.

He said everyone six months and older should get a flu shot by the end of this month. While the vaccine is recommended for all, Dr Hassan said it is especially needed in too young, old, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.

He said vaccination to expectant mothers is critically important to protect them, their unborn babies and their new born babies upto six months who are too young to receive the vaccine.

“It is essential for healthcare workers to get vaccinated to prevent spread of flu to patients who are vulnerable to flu-related complications and death,” he added.

“The symptoms of flu include high fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose and bodyache.”

“Flu is spread by coughing and sneezing so people should cover their cough or sneeze and wash their hands regularly to prevent the spread of flu. If you develop flu stay away from work or school for as long as you have symptoms,” said Dr Hassan. (GNS)