Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala health department has issued an alert in the state in the wake of the H1N1 outbreak. The department said that children below two, pregnant women, elderly people and those who are undergoing treatment for kidney issues also should be more cautious.

Special care is recommended for those influenza patients with cancer or HIV. Follow the cough/cold etiquette to prevent the transmission of the virus. Cover face when you cough or sneeze, the health department said.

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The state health department has advised people who show symptoms of cold, cough, fever, sore throat, chills and body aches to rush to the hospital for immediate attention.

For children, the symptoms are drowsiness, high and persistent fever, convulsions, difficulty in breathing and worsening of chronic conditions. They also said people with flu should stay home and keep away from crowded public places.

It is also reported that complications may lead to pneumonia, breathing problems and lung infections. The Health Department has issued instructions including covering of nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing, thorough hand washing, avoiding self-medication and isolated care for the affected to contain its spread.

Drinking more water and taking protein-rich food can reduce the risk of H1N1 symptoms, the health department said. Following the increase in H1N1 cases, the state health department increased its information, education and communication activities to raise awareness on precaution and early treatment.

The government has ensured that anti-viral medicines are available in all hospitals in the state, including government and private hospitals and in community health centres.