Cold and fever? No need to panic – Health officials | Sunday Observer

Cold and fever? No need to panic – Health officials

Those colds and fever you may have been experiencing with the onset of the monsoonal rains are a common occurrence at this time around.There is no need to panic. It is the usual flu which you see when the country experiences its two seasonal peaks-from April, May, June and July which is the lesser peak and from November, December, January and February which is the greater peak, Epidemiology Chief , Dr Samigi Ginige told the Sunday Observer. He said, “Viral flu is largely due to the monsoon rains we are now experiencing which has coincided with the greater seasonal peak starting from November. There could be a slight rise with more rains expected.. He vehemently refuted rumours that there was now an outbreak of Influenza in epidemic form, such as, the country experienced early this year until the Sinhala New Year .

Hospital sources contacted by the Sunday Observer confirmed this. Kalubowila Hospital Director Dr Asela Gunewardene said, there was no marked increase in the number of patients attending the hospital OPD, nor an increase in the number of in hospital patients warded with breathing and other upper respiratory complications caused by Influenza. “We do see a slight increase in dengue suspect cases, but we don’t expect an outbreak. However, if anyone has fever or symptoms of the viral flu, our advice is to see a physician after two days, and get the blood count checked, as both, dengue and viral flu are simultaneously being experienced at present,” he said.

While Influenza is a self limiting disease which lasts only a few days , and usually does not bring fatal consequences, health officials drew attention to certain categories of patients who could be more at risk of complications from the disease, than others. Dr Ginige said, elderly patients, pregnant women, very young children, and those with compromised immune systems due to certain chronic diseases were among the most vulnerable to such complications . “They should see a doctor without delay”, he stressed. He added that ” All who complain of flu like symptoms should refrain from taking Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs such as, aspirin and Ibuferon, while stressing that patients with suspected symptoms of the flu be given adequate fluids to keep them rehydrated, and have plenty of bed rest.

He also emphasized the importance of following general rules of personal hygienic practices to prevent contracting the disease. “ Avoid touching the eyes and mouth, especially, after using public transport. Wash hands frequently. The disease is contagious and can be transmitted from droplets in the air. Avoid large crowds in public spaces. Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing . Dispose all used tissues safely,” he said.

Influenza is not listed as a notifiable disease in the Epidemiological list of notifiable disease.

Medical Research Institute sources said, influenza A and B have been co- circulating in Sri Lanka, in recent years. At present, Influenza B and Influenza AH3N2 are co-circulating with Influenza B showing a slight dominance , they informed.