The Ministry of Health and Environment (MOH) is informing the general public that there has been an increase in Acute Respiratory Illness (Flu) and there are various Flu strains now circulating in Dominica.
Among them is the H1N1 strain which is seen mostly among adults. H1N1 is commonly known as Swine Flu because in the past, the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. However that changed some years ago when a new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn’t been near pigs.
Other strains of the flu now circulating in Dominica are Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV), Adenovirus (adeno), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Rhinovirus (among children), according to the MOH.
The HOH has heightened its Public Health Response including its Public Education campaign. All Health Districts have stepped up surveillance and management of Flu -like Illness.
The Ministry also would like the public to remain alert and protect themselves from getting the Flu.
The symptoms may appear in two different ways:
Low grade fever
Loss of appetite
Generalized body pain
Some of the things one can do to protect themselves and others from getting the Flu are as follows:
• Wash hands with soap and water more now than usual;
• If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizers and rub hands together very hard for a minute of more;
• Avoid shaking hands and kissing;
• Cover mouth with a tissue when coughing;
• Cover nose with tissue when sneezing;
• Throw away soiled tissue in a garbage bin after single use;
• Avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean because cold and flu enter your body through the eyes, nose and mouth;
• If you are sick, stay away from crowds, young children and very elderly persons
• Drink a lot of fluids: Juice, Water, Coconut water and soups;
“In order to prevent any further spread of this Flu, everyone must take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their families and the general public,” the MOH said. “Persons with the serious signs of the Flu are asked to visit their health center or doctor,” the release advised.
The MOH strongly advises persons suffering from diabetes, heart problems, asthma, HIV/AIDS, and cancer or taking steroid medications should contact their health care provider as soon as possible if they become affected by the Flu.