Increasing Influenza Activity

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment notes that there is increasing influenza activity in the Caribbean region at this time and is closely monitoring this situation.

Influenza cases increase during the flu season. However, the exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May.

The Ministry wishes to assure the public that health professionals will continue to work to maintain and strengthen the systems that are in place to detect and respond to increased influenza cases.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment advises members of the public to practice respiratory hygiene measures in order to reduce the risk of transmission of influenza and other respiratory viruses. Persons are advised to cover their mouth with a tissue or handkerchief if sneezing or coughing. They should safely dispose of used tissues, wash hands with soap and water after coughing and sneezing, as well as before and after meal preparation, eating and use of the toilets.

The Symptoms of the Influenza virus include:

• Sudden high fever (over 38°C or 100°F)
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Coughing
• Headache
• Body aches
• Fatigue

Persons experiencing Influenza-like symptoms, weakness or breathing difficulty should present immediately to the nearest Health facility or the Accident and Emergency Departrment of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital for appropriate management.

Persons at high risk who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should seek early medical attention. High risk patents include:

· Pregnant women
. Health care workers

· Children under 2 years of age;

· Persons with respiratory complications like asthma and chronic lung disease;

· Persons with weakened immune systems, including persons living with HIV persons on chemotherapy and Persons with chronic non-communicable diseases including diabetes.

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