Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Red Cross launches a public awareness project on influenza A H1N1

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The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society launched a public awareness project on influenza A H1 N1 using its branch network and mobilizing volunteer base throughout the island to educate the people about the measures that they should focus on to protect themselves in the backdrop of the spreading of A H1 N1.

Addressing a news conference held in Colombo yester day (21st) SLRCS Executive Director/ Health Dr. Lasantha Kodituwakku said that the theme of the awareness project was "Your Best Defense is You". The SLRCS branch staff and volunteers will visit public places like bus stands, railway stations, markets and distribute educational material such as posters and hand bills, in launching the prevention efforts. Bill boards and media spots will also be utilized while attention of the public drawing to importance of personal hygiene. The educational programme on prevention of influenza A H1 N1 will be extended to cover schools after the vacation. The health messages of this dissemination include 'Wash your hands,Cover your mouth, Separate those infected, Dispose of your waste and Keep your distance.

According to Dr. Kodituwakku symptoms of influenza A H1 N1 are fever,cough, sore throat, body ache and fatigue. Severe symptoms include shortness of breath, increased respiratory rate, severe dehydration,diarrhea and vomiting. The pandemic flu virus has an incubation period of 1- 7 days with an average of 2 days. He requested the individuals who got flu symptoms to consult a doctor before starting treatment.

To prevent the spreading and take preventive measures by a person who thinks that he or she has influenza A H1 N1 include, staying at home, rest and taking plenty of fluids, covering mouth and nose with disposable tissues or handkerchief when coughing and sneezing, washing hands with soap and water frequently and consulting a doctor for treatment.

SLRCS Deputy Director General Suren Peiris said that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, American Red Cross and Canadian Red Cross are supporting the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in this Campaign.