Health Department urges public to get flu vaccines

Influenza vaccine
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The National Health Department has advised the public to get the flu vaccine to avert respiratory infections during winter.

Adults from the age of 65, people with underlying illnesses such as heart and lung disease, people living with HIV and tuberculosis, as well as pregnant women are at high risk of severe influenza.

The influenza vaccine is freely offered in public clinics.

Department Spokesperson Foster Mohale has advised parents to seek medical attention should their children experience flu symptoms.

“Parents and caregivers are urged to take their children who experience difficulties with breathing, not drinking enough fluids and experience deteriorating symptoms to the nearest health facility or health care providers for medical attention without delay. People infected with influenza are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days. Preventative measures such as wearing of masks and social distancing are recommended for especially for those who are ill.”

“Flu-like symptoms attributed to RSV”

Reports of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have been circulating around the country however, the Department of health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases NICD) says there is no need for panic.

According to the NICD, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and lower respiratory tract infection among young children and may cause severe illness in young infants.

It is highly contagious with transmission mainly by respiratory droplets and re-infections can occur.

The NICD says the 2024 RSV season started in week 6 (week starting 5 February 2024) when the three-week moving average of the detection rate in children over 5 years from inpatient pneumonia surveillance in public hospitals remained above 15% for two consecutive weeks.

South African Medical Association Chairperson and Primary Healthcare Physician, Dr Angelique Coetzee, says common flu-like symptoms that have been making the rounds lately are attributed to RSV.

Dr Coetzee explains in the video below: