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Influenza cases up

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

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The Ministry of Health is reporting an increase in reported influenza cases over the same period last year.
According to laboratory surveillance of 11 public sector sentinel sites, 479 cases of influenza were recorded during the first ten weeks of the year (up to March 12, 2011).  Of this amount, 239 cases were recorded in the first five weeks of the year, and 240 in the following five weeks. For the same period in 2010 (up to March 13), 223 cases were reported from ten public sector sites. 
Barbadians are therefore reminded to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, avoiding persons who are sick and staying away from work or school when ill.  When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw it away immediately.
“If you are otherwise in good health and contract influenza, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids and use medications to relieve the symptoms.  If your symptoms are unusually severe, for example, if you are having difficulty breathing, consult your health care provider immediately.  However, never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, especially fever,” stated a release from the Government Information Service.
Influenza viruses spread from person to person primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person.  (GIS)