Citizens asked to adopt preventive steps to limit influenza transmission

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The National Institute of Health (NIH) has advised citizens to adopt special preventive measures for limiting influenza transmission in the prevailing high-risk season.

According to NIH, if someone was sick or had been in close contact with persons having a flu-like illness, he or she should take these precautionary measures to prevent the disease. These measures included frequent and thorough hand washing with soap, use of hand sanitizer when away from hand washing facility, covering mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, taking rest when sick, avoiding crowds, and adopting social distancing measures. It said that patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, cardiac and lung diseases, besides pregnant women, elderly people, and children under five years are at higher risk of developing severe or complicated diseases.

It said that the institute has also asked the health authorities and other stakeholders to ensure taking preventive and control measures for seasonal influenza. Health authorities have been advised for adopting measures encompassing preparedness to deal with the increased workload expected in the outpatient and in-patient departments during these days, it added.

The institute has also issued an advisory for the prevention and control of seasonal influenza in the wake of the expected upsurge of influenza cases in different parts of the country. The advisory discussed that influenza or seasonal flu can spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing or can contaminate hands or other surfaces.

The advisory said that vaccination was the most effective way to prevent infection and severe outcomes caused by influenza viruses, particularly in high-risk groups. Flu viruses are continuously changing with the likelihood of the emergence of new flu viruses every year. This makes influenza an unpredictable disease with varying extent of spread, timing, severity, and length of the season.