Seasonal Influenza

Flu can be dangerous!!

What is influenza?

Influenza which is commonly known as flu is a viral air-borne respiratory disease affecting humans and certain animals. Flu is very contagious and one can catch it from the air; from someone who is sneezing or coughing; from close contact with someone who has flu or from touching contaminated objects and transferring germs to the respiratory system. Flu is characterized by high fever (39° - 40°), headaches, severe cough, extreme fatigue, dry cough, muscle aches, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose and in some cases stomach symptoms e.g. nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea especially in children.

Are you at Risk?

The United Nations Medical Directors continue to recommend that all staff should consider being vaccinated, as influenza viruses continue to pose a risk of disease to many individuals regardless of whether the world is in a pandemic situation or not. Vaccination is of particular importance for those at greater risk of complications from flu. Most complications occur in people aged 65 years and over or in people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart or lung disease and diabetes. Pregnant women, infants and very young children are also at increased risk of complications from influenza.

Cold or Flu

Common cold is usually confused with flu. There are marked similarities and differences between the common cold and the flu. Both common cold and flu are caused by viruses. No effective cure is available for a cold, though treatments have come out for flu and there is a vaccination for the flu.

The table below summarizes the difference between the common cold and flu.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Usual; high (100 Degrees to 102 Degrees F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3-4 days
Headache Rare Common
General aches, pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Usual; can last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Usual; especially at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Mild to moderate hacking Common; can become severe

How to Prevent…

  • Get flu vaccination. The single best way to prevent the Flu is to get a Flu vaccination before the Flu season every year. This helps reduce the risks of death as well as the chances of hospitalization.
  • Wash your hands frequently and properly with soap or hand sanitizer.
  • Cough etiquette: advise those around you who are sick with flu to cover their mouth with elbow when you sneeze/ sneeze into a tissue that can then be disposed of in a closed dustbin. Stand at a distance of at least 1m from someone who is sick with flu