Not much flu … yet

2008-06-27 00:00

Think you’ve had flu? The doctors say you probably haven’t, but brace yourself, because it’s on the way.

Local doctors predict there will be an increase in influenza as more cold weather approaches.

Doctors also said that while many people think they have the flu because of symptoms like headaches and body pains, they are actually suffering from upper respiratory tract infection — an inflammation of the upper lung.

According to, influenza is a potentially serious viral respiratory disease that has a significant death rate.

The disease is seasonal and infection occurs predominantly in winter.

Dr Prithy Ramlachan said he has treated scores of patients who thought they were suffering from flu, but just had an upper tract infection. He said this infection causes the same body aches and pain as flu.

Another doctor, who did not want to be named, said people experiencing nasal congestion, sore throats and fevers should get an injection as these are the earliest signs of the onset of flu.

“I know of many people who do not treat the flu early. This is dangerous as it can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis,” he said.

Jan Schutte, a pharmacist at Sparksport Pharmacy in Chatsworth, said he expects an increase in flu cases, especially during July.

He also said it is too late to get a flu injection.

Pietermaritzburg doctors and pharmacists disagreed over the severity of flu this winter.

Wendy Naidoo of Cascades Pharmacy said they have seen a lot of seriously ill people, but do not know which strain of flu it is.

Dr Sanjay Narain said the flu does seem a little worse this year. He believes this is due to the cough persisting even once other symptoms have abated. Narain attributes this to the scarring and inflammation caused by the virus and thus it takes a long time to get out of one’s system.

Another private practitioner, Dr Cynthia Brown, said the city has not really had winter yet, only two cold spells followed by waves of assumed flu, which were really mere colds in response to heightened allergies.

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