State Health department issues advisory on seasonal flu
DIMAPUR — In the wake of reports of a surge in respiratory illnesses among children in China, the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare (H&FW) has advised the general public to be aware of the seasonal flu virus
“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(JN.1), etc and not due to any other unusual pathogen. Additionally, this is also in taking account of the rise of Covid-19 cases attributed to the Variant of Interest, JN.1,” the principal director of H&FW said in an advisory on Thursday.
Among the key instructions, the department advised wearing of masks and frequent hand-washing, stating that seasonal flu is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through cough, sneezing 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. At risk populations include infants, the elderly, pregnant women, immune-compromised and those taking long-term medications, particularly steroids may require hospitalisation,” the advisory stated.
It said that symptoms including fever, chills, malaise, loss of appetite, myalgia, nausea, sneezing and dry cough lasting several days and sudden onset of malaise are common and may last up to three weeks in high-risk populations.
For prevention and control of influenza and other such respiratory illnesses, it advised wearing of masks, covering mouth while sneezing or coughing, and avoiding crowded places.
“Persons above 60 years, persons with comorbid conditions, other health issues, pregnant women, elderly are advised to wear mask as it not only protects from Covid-19, Flu but other respiratory illnesses,” it added.
The advisory also recommended maintaining basic minimum distance from persons affected with flu.
“Avoid spitting in public. Avoid travel to places with high incidence of Influenza and other respiratory illnesses,” it advised.
For those exhibiting flue or influenza like symptoms, the health department recommended visiting the nearest government health care centre.
Emphasising wearing of facemasks, it also advised people with flu-like symptoms to avoid venturing out of their homes and to avoid close contact with others for at least seven days after the symptoms begin or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.
“Report to nearest government health facility if symptoms aggravate; the symptoms being fever, chills, malaise, loss of appetite, body aches, nausea, sneezing and prolonged dry cough typically in connection with a sudden onset of illness,” it said.
Further, it asked the public not to self-medicate or take medicines and antibiotics without consulting a doctor.