Persons Urged to Take Precaution Against the Flu

Photo: JIS Photographer Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sonia Copeland.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health is urging Jamaicans to be vigilant against contracting influenza viruses, typically more common around this time of year.
  • “The symptoms are coughing, sneezing and it can spread rapidly because these are droplets that are airborne. So persons who are close by, or who would have touched surfaces that the person who is ill has touched, then they can become infected especially if those fingers are going up to the eyes, in and around the nose and the mouth. This is how it is easily transmitted,” she told JIS News.
  • “If you have no tissue or hand towel that you can get to quickly, you just cough into your elbow to prevent it going out and becoming airborne and infecting others. After you have used those tissue sheets, then you have to dispose of them carefully to prevent someone else from becoming infected,” she said.

The Ministry of Health is urging Jamaicans to be vigilant against contracting influenza viruses, typically more common around this time of year.

The caution comes in light of the flu season which occurs during the cooler months, September to March.

In an interview with JIS News, Director, Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry, Dr. Sonia Copeland said influenza A and B are the types mainly seen in Jamaica.

“The symptoms are coughing, sneezing and it can spread rapidly because these are droplets that are airborne. So persons who are close by, or who would have touched surfaces that the person who is ill has touched, then they can become infected especially if those fingers are going up to the eyes, in and around the nose and the mouth. This is how it is easily transmitted,” she told JIS News.

Other symptoms of influenza include fever, headaches, tiredness and to a lesser extent body aches, vomiting and diarrhoea. Pregnant women and persons with chronic illnesses with flu like symptoms, should immediately seek medical attention.

Dr. Copeland said frequent hand washing with soap and water, as well as limiting contact with others with the flu, is key to preventing infection.

She added that the use of hand sanitizers with over 60 per cent alcohol content may also be used.

Persons with flu like symptoms are being reminded to cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.

“If you have no tissue or hand towel that you can get to quickly, you just cough into your elbow to prevent it going out and becoming airborne and infecting others. After you have used those tissue sheets, then you have to dispose of them carefully to prevent someone else from becoming infected,” she said.

She said rest and the consumption of fluids are critical during this period.

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