Atchoo — the flu season strikes

2013-06-10 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG and other city centres have joined the rest of the country in the yearly flu outbreak.

KwaZulu-Natal has the third highest number of cases of influenza, probably due to the high density of people in the province.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) monitors influenza patterns locally to make sure that no new deadly virus strains emerge.

People have been flocking to doctors with a range of flu symptoms — from coughs and sore throats to sinus congestion and body aches. These horrible symptoms are all part and parcel of the yearly spread of influenza.

Duzimed, a local medical centre, said it had treated many patients over the weekend with typical flu symptoms.

Influenza erupts usually when temperatures plummet after a hot spell. The symptoms are not considered dangerous unless they cannot be controlled or affect young children or the elderly.

The type of influenza can be affected by regional global viruses and pharmaceutical manufacturers try to create vaccines made from the previous year’s influenza. Many companies pay for their employees to receive the annual flu vaccine in an effort to cut back on the amount of sick leave applications.

Graham Anderson, principal officer at Profmed, a medical scheme catering exclusively to graduate professionals, says South Africans should prepare themselves for a challenging few months in terms of influenza viruses.

“We are seeing newer, stronger strains of flu viruses this year, which means that people will not be able to fight them off as easily as one might think.

“Vaccination is a very effective way to prevent flu. We advise everyone from six months of age and older to get a flu vaccination,” Anderson said.

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