BEIJING -- China is taking measures to address the recent increase in acute respiratory infections caused by different respiratory pathogens as the country enters the winter season.
Mi Feng, a spokesperson with the National Health Commission, told a press conference on Sunday that the recent respiratory infectious diseases are mainly due to the influenza virus, with additional cases caused by rhinoviruses, mycoplasma pneumonia, respiratory syncytial viruses, and adenoviruses.
The commission has instructed localities to ensure the implementation of classified diagnosis and treatment and make public information about medical facilities with pediatric services and fever clinics to help patients find the nearest hospital to them.
Efforts should be made to increase the opening of relevant consulting rooms and treatment areas, appropriately extend service hours, ensure drug supply, and fully utilize the role of traditional Chinese medicine, Mi said, while emphasizing the importance of effective epidemic response in schools, kindergartens, nursing homes, and other key venues with dense populations.
China has also promoted online diagnosis and treatment to meet the needs of patients, leveraging internet hospital platforms to set up channels for fever clinics and pediatric treatments.
Online prescription services are provided, and patients can receive medications at home for free, said Ying Xumin, deputy director of the Hangzhou Municipal Health Commission, adding that online treatment can help reduce the chances of cross-infections and patient wait times in hospitals.
Ying said that people can also check information about fever clinics through online platforms, including the remaining number of people in the queue, and choose a nearby medical institution for treatment.
The application of such digital technology is also conducive to improving the efficiency of patient transfer to a higher-level hospital, he added.
Vaccination remains the most effective preventive measure for senior citizens, especially those with underlying health conditions, said Li Yanming, head of the respiratory and critical care medicine department at the Beijing Hospital.
Li stressed the importance of maintaining a proper temperature and humidity in the home environment.
She said an overly dry home environment is also not conducive to respiratory health. She reminded older adults to avoid crowded and enclosed spaces and advised them to wear masks outdoors.