Influenza, or flu, is an acute respiratory infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. It is mainly transmitted by respiratory droplets and physical contact. The incubation period after infection is generally one to four days, usually an average of two days. The clinical manifestations are commonly high fever, cough, sore throat and chills. Some infected people may also have pneumonia, myocarditis, otitis media and other complications, which might cause severe disease or even death.
In order to prevent and control influenza and reduce the risk of cluster outbreaks in key places such as schools, child care institutions and nursing homes, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) is offering the following tips.
1.Get influenza vaccination in time
Influenza vaccination is the most economical and effective way to protect oneself and family members from influenza infection and reduce serious influenza-related complications. Research data show that the overall protection of influenza vaccination on children hospitalized due to influenza is 53 percent, which reduces the risk of healthy children dying of influenza by nearly 65 percent.
Residents should pay attention to the information issued by vaccination clinics or community health service centers around the country and make an appointment for vaccination in time. In particular, the elderly, patients with chronic underlying diseases, medical staff, children and other high-risk groups should be given priority for vaccination.
2.Strengthen epidemic prevention and control in key places
In the influenza epidemic season, schools and kindergartens should strengthen health education on influenza. Teachers should help children develop hygienic habits and schools should take various prevention and control measures such as morning and afternoon health checks, absence registration and infectious diseases reporting.
Nursing homes can coordinate delivery of vaccination services and pay attention to the health monitoring of senior citizens. Once respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough are found, the elderly should be sent to hospital for treatment in time and avoid physical contact with others.
3.Take general precautions
Keep good hygiene habits. When coughing or sneezing, one should cover mouth and nose with tissues or towels; keep hands clean, wash hands frequently with water or disinfectant and try to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with the hands; open windows every day to keep indoor air fresh.
Take moderate exercises and keep a balanced diet. Keep a healthy diet and lifestyle, take exercise and improve immunity.
Reduce the risk of influenza exposure. Avoid close contact with suspected patients with influenza and avoid going to crowded places during influenza epidemic periods.
Cut influenza transmission. Get rest and drink more water if you have flu-like symptoms; encourage mild cases to self-monitor at home, don’t go to work or attend class if you are ill, and wear a mask when contacting family members; if the symptoms get worse, go to a hospital immediately.