THE FLU BUG IS ON THE PROWL
I have noted an increased number of patients consulting for fever and flu-like symptoms since last week. Friends and relatives have likewise been infected and are either sneezing or slumped down in bed, enveloped in their blankets.
I suggest that those who are still uninfected to be extra careful and practice good hygiene to prevent getting sick. Among my suggestions:
- Wash hands thoroughly and frequently. Use soap and rinse well with water. Using alcohol and hand gels can be alternatives, but nothing beats thorough hand washing in eliminating microbes.
- Avoid contact with people with flu. If unavoidable, be sure to wash your hands afterwards (make it tactful, as there are people who are sensitive and might be offended. If you can, cover your mouth and face when talking with an infected person.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth frequently. Microbes can be found on doorknobs, tables, office equipment and other paraphernalia. Touching your eyes, mouth and nose after having contact with these things can get you infected.
- Drink plenty of fluids specially juices (orange, apple, mango, dalandan, pineapple, etc.) and good old water.
- Increase your food intake of Vitamin A and C-enriched foods. Drinking supplements is okay, but nothing beats the real sources of said vitamins.
For those already infected with flu, see a doctor or stay home and rest. Staying home when you are sick helps in your healing and helps to prevent the spread of the flu virus. While there are antiviral drugs and antibiotics available to treat flu patients, I usually do not advise prescribing them because natural healing which confers natural immunity is always better. Additional suggestions for those with flu:
- Get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids, and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking.
- Take Paracetamol 500mg 1 tablet every 4-6 hours for those with fever and body aches. Take as needed. Stop when fever and pains have disappeared.
Taking antibiotics and antivirals is discouraged unless a doctor suggested it to you.
- If you are at special risk from flu complications (flu patients who are immunocompromised, who are 65 years and older, who have chronic medical conditions, and who are pregnant) should consult a doctor as soon as possible as antibiotics and antiviral administration may be warranted.
The flu is a HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS disease. Influenza viruses spread from person to person through respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes where they are imbedded. This is what is termed "droplet spread." When droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled (usually at an amazing 3-4 feet) through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby, infection becomes highly probable (90-100%). Though much less frequent, the viruses also can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.
Medical studies show that adults can spread the virus from 1 day before developing symptoms to up to 7 days after getting sick. This is termed the “infectious period.” Young children can shed virus for longer than 7 days. In general, however, MORE VIRUSES ARE SHED EARLIER in the illness than later.
Be careful, ok?