Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The hot and humid climate is slowly becoming warm with snippets of the breeze and as September is said to be the start of the six-month Seasonal Influenza (simple flu), a consultant paediatrician has sent across reminders on how not to be down with it.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranges the global flu-related deaths at 290,000 to 650,000 a year.
Dr Ahmed Mohammed Abdelaal of the Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi was asked of whether simple flu could worsen into the other respiratory disease-the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19)-currently plaguing over 200 countries and territories.
His answer: “Simple flu cannot develop into COVID-19 as the virus of each are different from each other.”
While it has been known that COVID-19 is caused by the virulent SARS-CoV2, simple flu is generally due to the Types A and B virus and which Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) officials in their Seasonal Flu press conferences each year, describe as quick-mutating and thus the necessity to be vaccinated each year.
Abdelaal was asked for his opinion on the simple flu season and the pandemic. He does not expect high rates of the former as “COVID-19 might have altered health behaviours resulting in over-protection, many schools are still on online learning, and families care about receiving the flu vaccine.”
On the other hand, Abdelaal pointed out that everyone comes into contact with viruses and bacteria all the time.
He said: “Patient with simple flu just needs rest and conservative treatment as most of the cases recover a few days without complications.”
Abdelaal reiterated the MoHaP yearly advice: “Get the flu vaccination. Make sure you get it every year. The predominant circulating flu virus changes from year to year. So you will need to update your vaccination each year.”
The precautionary measures against simple flu and COVID-19 are the same and Abdelaal reminds everyone to imbibe frequent hand washing particularly when “preparing food, eating, after (toilet use) and touching any surface, and before touching the face if you need to.”
Moreover, avoid the crowd, indulge in nutritious meals and snacks, specifically with daily doses of fruits and vegetables to heighten the immune system, clean and disinfect surfaces, and visit the doctor when signs and symptoms creep in.
The signs and symptoms of simple flu are sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscles and joints pain, sore throat, runny nose, and un-wellness or malaise.
Preventable measures include covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing to reduce the spread of flu viruses, regular hand washing with water and soap, and sanitation, as well as cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs that cause flu.
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