The health department of the Karnataka government has just issued an advisory in public interest to take precautions against the prevailing seasonal flu and communicable respiratory diseases in the wake of respiratory illness outbreak in China. According to the department, at least 3220 people have tested positive for the flu in the state between January to November 2023.
The advisory says “In view of the recent media reports of surge in respiratory illness among children in China and taking note of the WHO statement on these reported cases, the increase in respiratory illness among children is attributed to usual causes like Influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2, etc and not due to any other unusual pathogen.” It adds:
“Seasonal flu is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through the cough or sneeze of a person with the flu, or through contact with droplets. This self-limiting disease lasts for 5-7 days and causes low morbidity and mortality.” According to the advisory, it is most the elderly, pregnant women, the immunocompromised, those on long term medication (mainly steroids), and infants who are at most risk of infection. In severe cases, hospitalization might also be required.
Symptoms Of Seasonal Influenza and Respiratory Illness
- Malaise (a general feeling of discomfort)
- Loss of appetite
- Myalgia (pain in muscles)
- Dry cough
Dos And Don’ts for Prevention and Control
- Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth unnecessarily.
- Avoid visiting crowded places and if visiting such places use a face mask.
- Maintain basic minimum distance from persons affected with flu.
- Sleep adequately, be physically active and deal with stress effectively.
- Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food.
- Avoid spitting in public.
- Avoid travel to places with high incidence of Influenza and other respiratory illnesses.
For Those Who Have Contracted the Flu, The Advisory Recommends:
- Visit your nearest government healthcare center if illness occurs
- Use a face mask for protection
- Stay at home, do no go to work or school
- Avoid close contact with people for 7 days after symptoms start or until you have been symptom free, whichever is longer
- If symptoms persist, report to nearest government health facility. Refer to the above symptoms of flu which usually occur in the onset of such illness
- High risk population may experience symptoms for three weeks
- Don’t self-medicate, or take antibiotics without consulting your doctor
- Follow medical advice
The following infographic has been released by the NCDC (National Center for Disease Control), New Delhi. While influenza is manageable, it is best to get vaccinated for added protection.
To know more about Influenza read: Understanding Influenza, causes, symptoms, and treatments