Ministry: Take Precautions Against Influenza

January 21, 2019

The Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit is “encouraging the public to take precautions against Influenza [the flu], as there is currently a rise in numbers and in the severity of flu cases recorded on the island.”

A Ministry spokesperson said, “It is important for the public to protect themselves from the flu with vaccination, especially children, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.

“These persons are strongly advised to seek medical attention early if you have flu-like symptoms. Typical symptoms are fever [usually over 100.4 degrees F, 38 C], headache, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, feeling very unwell and tired. All individuals with flu-like symptoms should stay home from work and school until at least 24 hours after fever has ended.

“The Flu vaccine can keep you from getting flu, make flu less severe if you do get it, and keep you from spreading flu to your family and other people, especially newborns and young infants, children, seniors, and persons at risk of complications from the flu. It can help reduce time taken off from work or school due to flu.

“The Ministry of Health continues to recommend the flu vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses will continue to circulate through spring. Healthcare workers, teachers, essential service workers and pregnant women are priority groups for receiving the flu shot.

“Seasonal flu vaccination is available through physicians’ offices or from the Department of Health at a cost of $10 [free for persons over the aged 65 years and older]:

  • Hamilton Health Centre, 67 Victoria Street, Hamilton HM 12
  • Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 11:30 am
  • Wednesday afternoons: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
  • Phone: 278-6460 or 278-6461

“Individuals under a physician’s care for chronic medical conditions and those seeking a flu shot for children under the age of three years are asked to obtain a prescription for the flu vaccine from their private physician.

“Additionally, everyone should take the following precautions to avoid catching the flu:

“The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta recommends the following:

  • A yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. [Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.]
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

“Contact your doctor if you suspect that you have the flu. Inform the receptionist when you arrive at your doctor’s office. They may ask you to wear a mask if you are coughing, sneezing, have a runny nose or a sore throat.”

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