PHILIPSBURG–The Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) is urging persons in the community who are “at risk” to get their flu vaccine.
CPS said in a press release that the flu is dangerous for elderly people (65 years and over), pregnant women, and very young children (ages six months and over) as well as for people with underlying medical conditions (severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity, diabetics). These groups can be considered high-risk and “it is highly recommended that these persons get their flu shot [vaccine – Ed.] in consultation with their physician.”
Vaccination offers effective protection against influenza. These persons are also reminded to adhere to proper handwashing and cough etiquettes. Vaccines need to be given each year as flu viruses are always changing.
There are three different types of influenza viruses that infect humans: influenza A, B and C. Only influenza A and B cause major outbreaks and severe disease, and these are included in seasonal influenza vaccines. Influenza spreads from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing, or by direct contact with the virus on hard surfaces or people’s hands.
The flu usually differs from a cold as symptoms develop suddenly, and can lead to complications such as chest infections and pneumonia – particularly among the elderly and young children.
Flu symptoms tend to develop abruptly one to three days after infection, and can include: tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, poor appetite, and muscle aches.
Most people who get the flu will suffer from mild illness and will recover in less than two weeks. However, some people can develop longer-term health problems, including pneumonia, bronchitis, chest and sinus infections, heart, blood system or liver complications, which can lead to hospitalisation and even death.
The Surveillance Prevention and Disease Control of the Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA had urged member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) change on the Global Epidemiological Surveillance for Influenza and Influenza-like illnesses.
As of January 2018 collection of case data for Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) will be replaced by collection of data on Influenza-like Illness (ILI). Collection of surveillance data for Severe Acute Respiratory infections (SARI) continues, CPS said in a press release. This change is important as the use of the common case definitions globally will allow local Health Ministries to interpret their data once collected in an international context.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71968-cps-encourages-those-at-risk-to-get-flu-vaccine