Thursday, 14 December 2017

Seasonal flu to hit India hard in the coming year

Seasonal flu to hit India hard in the coming year
 
It is imperative to get vaccinated in a timely manner to avoid getting infected

New Delhi, 13 December 2017: Seasonal influenza outbreaks each year cause 3 million to 5 million severe cases and 300,000 to 500,000 deaths globally, estimates the WHO. Recent predictions by flu-trackers have indicated that seasonal flu will hit India and the rest of the northern hemisphere hard next year. This prediction is based on outbreak trends in the winter of the southern hemisphere, where Australia has reported record-high numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Seasonal flu shows a minor peak from December to February in India. It causes symptoms of fever, cough, breathlessness, lethargy, headache and nausea. Most people recover within a week without ill-effects, but complications such as pneumonia and multi-organ failure can kill people at risk, such as young children with respiratory problems, pregnant women, older adults above age 65 years, and those with chronic disorders such as asthma, lung diseases, heart disease and diabetes.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Most flu outbreaks happen in late fall and winter. The symptoms may not show up for a couple of days and thus, it is possible for a person to pass on the flu to someone even before this. Flu is usually caused by influenza viruses A and B. The strains vary each year. One may often confuse flu with a common cold as the symptoms are very similar. It is imperative to get a shot of the flu vaccine every year to prevent any incidence particularly in children, pregnant women, and older citizens.”

As viruses adapt and change, so do those contained within the vaccines – what is included in them is based on international surveillance and scientists’ calculations about which virus types and strains will circulate in a given year.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Flu is primarily treated with rest and fluid intake to allow the body to fight the infection on its own. Paracetamol may help cure the symptoms but NSAIDs should be avoided. An annual vaccine can help prevent the flu and limit its complications.”

Here are some tips to prevent spreading of seasonal flu.

Those who are not sick should avoid close contact with people who are sick.
People with flu should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
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