Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | Sha'ban 10, 1445 H
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Flu season is back as temperatures drop


Muscat: With temperatures dropping to under mid-thirties in most cities of the country, health centers are seeing a surge in seasonal influenza (flu) across age groups.

While the flu is not to be worried about like Covid-19, health experts urged residents and citizens to take precautions to avoid absence at workplaces and schools.

Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that circulate in all parts of the world. It represents a year-round disease burden. It causes illnesses that range in severity and sometimes lead to hospitalization and death, according to the WHO.

Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. However, influenza can cause severe illness or death, particularly among high-risk groups including the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, health workers, and those with serious medical conditions.

In temperate climates, seasonal epidemics occur mainly during winter, while in tropical regions, influenza may occur throughout the year, causing outbreaks more irregularly.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday announced the start of administering the seasonal flu vaccine for target segments.

The target segments include people over the age of 50, people with chronic diseases such as respiratory, heart, renal, liver, neurological, blood, and metabolic disorders, including uncontrolled diabetes and obesity among adults and children, as well as pilgrims, workers in the health sector and pregnant women.

MOH calls on the target segments to head to the nearest health institution to receive the seasonal flu vaccine to avoid influenza infection, which affects the respiratory system and may lead to serious complications.

The Ministry pointed out that the vaccine is also available in the private health sector for non-targeted citizens and residents.

Patients that are not from a high-risk group should be managed with symptomatic treatment and are advised, if symptomatic, to stay home in order to minimize the risk of infecting others in the community. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of influenza such as fever. Patients should monitor themselves to detect if their condition deteriorates and seek medical attention Patients that are known to be in a group at high risk for developing severe or complicated illnesses, (see above) should be treated with antivirals in addition to symptomatic treatment as soon as possible.

Patients with severe or progressive clinical illness associated with suspected or confirmed influenza virus infection (i.e. clinical syndromes of pneumonia, sepsis or exacerbation of chronic underlying diseases) should be treated with the antiviral drug as soon as possible.

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