It’s flu season!
The influenza season officially starts October 1 and continues through to the third week of May. Influenza, otherwise known as ‘the flu’, is a highly contagious respiratory tract illness caused by the influenza viruses.
It is airborne, meaning present in the air in the form of droplets containing the virus. These droplets would be the product of coughs and sneezes of infected individuals. It is transmitted by breathing in these droplets. It is also transmitted by touching the face after contact with surfaces that have the virus.
Methods of prevention include:
1) Washing of hands after contact with surfaces.
2) Sanitisation of surfaces especially where persons with coughs, runny noses and sneezes are present.
3) Avoid touching the face and putting hands in the mouth.
4) Avoid sharing eating utensils, straws, cups and bedding with suspected or confirmed cases.
5) Eat balanced healthy meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay hydrated.
6) Get sunlight and adequate rest
7) Protect oneself by getting the flu vaccine if available. This is recommended for those most vulnerable and include health-care workers and caregivers.
If having symptoms such as fever, sneezing, runny nose or coughing:
•Wear a mask
•Practise proper cough/sneeze etiquette; cover nose and mouth with a napkin, which should be discarded after us
•Cough/sneeze into the elbow not the palm of the hand.
•Stay home until the illness has passed, usually indicated by absence of fever for 24 hours. It usually has a course of 7-10 days. If that time has passed and symptoms persist it may indicate that the illness has become complicated and will need further intervention.
•Isolate if diagnosed especially if around the most vulnerable including babies and small children, the elderly, and immunocompromised (that is, persons on chemotherapy or steroids, for example).
Dr Anona Griffith is a consultant paediatrician at WeRKids Paediatric Centre in Manor Park, St Andrew and at Gilead Paediatrics, Denbigh Clarendon. She can be contacted by visiting werkidsja.com.