Thursday 21 May 2015

Spike in seasonal flu cases in Delhi: High risk groups, prevention tips

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New Delhi: The sudden drop in temperature during the past week has caused a spike in seasonal flu cases in the national capital with reports of hospitals and clinics seeing a sharp increase in patients every day.

Doctors warned that the number of people with flu-like symptoms may go up in the coming days due to changing weather.

The flu tends to come on suddenly and people usually develop the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever – a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • Runny nose or blocked nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Chest congestion
  • Headaches
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Aching muscles
  • Joint pain

All these symptoms may make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities. Most people with flu symptoms recover within few days without seeing a doctor. However, certain groups of people have higher risk of complications from flu.

They are: Babies or young children, pregnant women, older adults (over 65s), individuals with certain medical conditions – heart disease, diabetes, chest infections suhc as asthma or bronchitis, kidney problems, people undergoing treatment for cancer or taking steroids, etc.

The single best way to prevent catching seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. However, you can reduce your risk of getting flu or spreading it to other people by adopting the following steps:

  • Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Discard used tissues in a bin as soon as possible
  • If you have flu, keep distance from others to protect them from becoming infected with the virus
  • Avoid close contact with people who get flu
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face with unwashed hands as germs and virus can get into your system
  • Keep surfaces such as your keyboard, telephone and door handles clean to get rid of germs
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids – lukewarm water or fluids can help in clearing chest congestion..
  • If prescribed antibiotics, complete the full course
  • If you get flu, your doctor may recommend taking antiviral drugs to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics and are may prevent serious flu complications.

Flu is a serious contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause hospitalisation, and at times can lead to death, if left untreated.