CARPHA’s Flu Season alert

fluSeasonal influenza affects many thousands of people in the Caribbean each year, and as the 2015 season approaches, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging persons to practice good personal hygiene in order to reduce the risk of transmission of influenza and other respiratory viruses.

Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr C. James Hospedales, states that the “primary form of influenza transmission is through interpersonal contact.”

He adds that “given elevated flu activity in the United States, combined with the high travel season to the Caribbean, it is important that persons take the necessary steps now, to protect themselves and their loved ones from the flu.”

CARPHA is advising that persons practice good hygiene measures, which include:

· Covering your mouth with a tissue or handkerchief, or using your elbow, when sneezing or coughing

· Safely disposing of used tissues

· Washing your hands with soap and water after coughing and sneezing and before and after meal preparation, eating and using the toilets.

However, the most effective way to prevent the disease or severe outcomes from the illness is vaccination. Safe and effective vaccines have been available and used for more than 60 years. Among healthy adults, influenza vaccine can prevent 70% to 90% of influenza-specific illness. Among the elderly, the vaccine reduces severe illnesses and complications by up to 60%, and deaths by 80%.

Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications, and for people who live with or care for high risk individuals.

Seasonal influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of high fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and runny nose. Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. But influenza can cause severe illness or death in people at high risk.

The time from infection to illness, known as the incubation period, is about two days. Illnesses can result in hospitalizations and deaths mainly among high-risk groups (the very young, elderly or chronically ill). Worldwide, these annual epidemics result in about three to five million cases of severe illness, and about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths. Most deaths associated with influenza occur among people age 65 or older.

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  1. anonymous2
    January 30, 2015

    Stay away from the vaccines unless you WANT to get the flu and be sick. More propaganda from the pharmaceutical companies and the medical personnel that are brainwashed by them. Do your homework. Flu vaccines have NEVER prevented the flu.

  2. Thor
    January 30, 2015

    Typical of the way public policy is conducted in the Caribbean. Lots of talk and no effective action.

    What the doctor said is very important, but why don’t they focus on a vaccination campaign in conjunction with the proper personal hygiene campaign. That way you get the biggest bang for the buck. Just telling people to wash their hands is a good start, but vaccinating people in combination with this, is the most effective way to reduce the incidence of the flu.

    • The mouth
      January 30, 2015

      Is vaccinating all the Caribbean CARPHA’s responsibility or is it the responsibility of individual national governments?

    • The Facts
      January 30, 2015

      Even some vaccinations might not work. It depends on the type of influenza. Nevertheless, vaccination is recommended. It might prevent influenza.

    • Ken
      January 31, 2015

      People should do their own research before making the decision to take any sort of vaccine being pushed by the main stream “health organizations and individuals”. The “flu vaccine” is not the most effective way to protect yourself. It is a hit and miss method at best since all strains of the flu can’t be covered in one vaccine. The vaccine producers can’t know ahead of time which strain/s of the flu virus for which to prepare. Many people who take flu shots still come down with flu. Some even get the flu because of the shot. Proper hygiene and maintaining a strong immune system trumps the flu shot any time. This information is available from the same people who try and convince you that the flus shot is effective, but you have to read all of the advisories and not just the headlines of these materials.

    • derp
      February 1, 2015

      vaccination my foot my cousins got the vaccine and guess what, they go the cold but I did not get the vaccine and I did not get anything -.-

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