Influenza commonly called the flu is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system including the nose, throat and lungs. With the influenza season upon us, the Ministry of Health is encouraging at risk groups to get vaccinated. These groups include children six to twenty-three months old, pregnant women, persons suffering from chronic disease and the elderly. Dr. Melissa Diaz, Primary Care Coordinator for Central Health Region, spoke with Love News about the illness.
Dr. Melissa Diaz: “Well influenza as you quite rightly said, it is a flu and it’s caused by a virus and it’s caused by the Influenza virus. There are four subtypes, there A, B, C,D. Generally A and B are the two subtypes that affect humans. This virus is spread by droplets, what that means basically, if you are coughing, sneezing, nasal secretions, this is the way it spread so if I cough and you are right next to me it’s quite easy for you to contract the illness. Also it’s important for us to remember that virus stays on surfaces, the telephone, door knobs, tables so if I have just sneezed or something and it goes over the table, you come along and you touch it you may also contract the illness.”
Diaz said the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated which can also save lives.
Dr. Melissa Diaz: “Prevention is isolation, handwashing; handwashing is very important so with hand washing you can remove the virus quite quickly. When I say isolation if somebody starts with any kind of symptoms that would suggest Influenza, you would remove yourself from the workplace, from your school and you stay in your room isolated. Of course the vaccination, the flu vaccination has saved millions of lives annually. In the past many years ago millions of people died from Influenza, the seasonal flu and now with immunization we have been able to control that significantly.”
The flu vaccination is available at your nearest health center.