Health Ministry: “Above Normal Levels” Of Flu

April 7, 2016

Saying that there continues to be increases in reported cases of influenza [flu] and fever and respiratory symptoms that are “above normal levels in the community,” the Health Ministry provided an update and advisory.

The full advisory is below:

The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit [ESU] would like to update the public on the occurrence of influenza on the island.  There have been no deaths confirmed to be caused by influenza thus far.

However, there continue to be increases in reported cases of influenza [flu] and fever and respiratory symptoms, above normal levels in the community. The average age of persons being diagnosed with confirmed influenza is 31 years, ranging from under 1 year  to 76 years.

The United States and the United Kingdom are similarly reporting late season influenza activity affecting younger persons. The ESU continues to closely monitor the occurrences of these illnesses in the community and will update the public with new developments.

The increased occurrence of influenza on island has reached the “high alert” level designated by the ESU.  Therefore, we will increase communication to the public regarding influenza prevention and control.

We ask that the public take special precautions to avoid contracting or spreading respiratory infections. Anyone can get the flu and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age.

The public are reminded that to reduce the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses the following guidelines should be followed:

  • All individuals, 6 months of age and older, are encouraged to be vaccinated against influenza each season. Consult your physician or the Department of Health, Victoria Street Hamilton, at [441]278-6460 for more information.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home from work, school or public places if you are having influenza-like symptoms.
  •  Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve or elbow. Throw tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, for example door knobs, telephones, and bathroom fixtures, especially when someone is ill.
  • Practice other good health habits such as: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Some people are at high risk of developing serious flu related complications such as people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions [such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease], pregnant women, and young children. Persons who develop symptoms of an influenza-like illness such as:

  • fever,
  • cough,
  • sore throat,
  • runny or stuffy nose,
  • muscle or body aches,
  •  headaches
  • and tiredness

should consult their physician for advice. It is especially important to seek early medical advice if symptoms are severe.

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