Guangdong has entered peak flu season, with outbreaks of the flu virus trending upward, Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.
In the first week of 2019, 300 cases testing positive for the flu virus have been logged by the Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, around half the figure reported during the same period last year.
Doctors warn that severe cases of flu can lead to death, however, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Severe cases, which may lead to central nervous system damage, have been increasing in Guangzhou this year. If your child has a persistent high temperature (fever), or displays any extreme symptoms such as convulsions, you must take him/her to see a doctor immediately.
Currently, the H1N1 strain of Influenza A is the dominant type, followed by the H3N2 strain of Influenza A and the Victoria and Yamagata lineage of Influenza B, according to Xu Yi, deputy director of Paediatrics Department, Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center.
Xu said, “The four-strain flu vaccine adds protection against these four viruses, and vaccination is considered the most effective way to prevent infection and guard against an epidemic.”
Xu reminded that children are a high risk group, with pneumonia as a common complication in two thirds of severe cases of influenza A (H1N1).
“Influenza should be treated as early as possible,” said Xu. People at high risk and patients with underlying diseases should take appropriate medication immediately if they show influenza-like symptoms.
According to the ‘Expert consensus statement on the diagnosis and treatment of influenza for children 2018’, antiviral therapy should be given within 48 hours of symptoms first manifesting, which will reduce the risk of further complications.
How to tell whether it’s a cold or the flu?
Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: high fever with body temperature over 39℃-40℃, fear of cold or chills, headache, whole-body muscular soreness, extremely weak, loss of appetite, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.
A few people experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Children tend to display more of these digestive tract symptoms than adults. Infants’ clinical symptoms are usually atypical.
Advice on preventing and treating flu
Residents, especially young children, are advised to take precautions to protect themselves against flu viruses.
The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Frequent hand washing can reduce the risk of viral spread. Wearing a surgical mask is also useful.
Parents are advised to ventilate their dwellings every day and avoid taking their kids to crowded places. They are advised to give their children temperature-reducing medicine (such as paracetamol) if their child’s body temperature is above 38.5℃. They should wear a mask when going to the hospital.
Children should try to avoid close contact with sick people. They should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and wash their hands with soap and water after being in contact with people with flu symptoms.
If people are sick with flu symptoms, they should get plenty of sleep, keep hydrated and cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. They should see a doctor if symptoms persist.
Reported by Monica Liu
Edited by Simon Haywood