The Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services wish to advise the public to be vigilant during this Flu season. Influenza (Flu) season reoccurs annually during the cooler months and is characterized by a prevalence of outbreaks of Influenza. Seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, however, most of the flu activity often peaks between December and February.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that hospitalization and death due to seasonal influenza occurs mainly among high risk groups. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and about 290,000 to 650,000 deaths. The Ministry of Health, Agriculture, and Human Services is committed to keeping the Turks and Caicos Islands population healthy, and persons are advised to visit the Primary Health Care Clinics within their respective communities before they have the flu for the Flu vaccine which is given free of charge.
Signs and Symptoms of the Flu: -
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months have a flu vaccine annually.
In addition to having the flu vaccine, the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services would like to recommend the following health tips which can help to prevent the spread of the infection:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or long enough to sing the birthday song twice.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rubs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth (germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- If you or your child is sick with the flu stay home from work, school, daycare. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
- Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, manage your stress, and be physically active.
- Everyday preventive actions can help slow the spread of germs that can cause many different illnesses and may offer some protection against the flu.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Flu virus travels through the air in droplets when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. You can inhale the droplet directly, or you can pick up the germ from an object, then transfer them to your eyes, nose and mouth.
Get your Flu shot today!!!
For more information, contact your Health Care Provider or the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on 3382772 or 3384942.