Flu symptoms persist

The Public Health Department is reporting that the flu-like cases in Grand Cayman are still on the increase.

Director of Public Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said there were about 95 patients per week seeking medical care for flu-like illnesses at government health facilities. It is estimated that a similar number might have been seeking care from private physicians.

Mr. Kumar noted that the period between December and March is usually the peak of the flu season when typically the highest numbers of flu cases are reported.

Although the flu shots taken at this time will not protect in the next season, if any one wishes to have, the flu vaccine is available at all Health Centres at no cost to anyone.

Here are some ways to lower your risk of catching colds, coughs or flu:

Prevention

Avoid close contact with sick people. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick

When you are sick, stay home from work and school and avoid running errands. Not only will rest help you to recover more quickly, but also staying home will help prevent others from getting your illnesses.

Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Keep your lifestyle as healthy as possible

Eating a diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit each day, drinking plenty of water, going for regular walks, getting plenty of sleep, managing stress, not smoking, and avoiding too much alcohol all make it easier for your body to resist any kind of infection, including colds and flu.

What to do if you catch a cold or flu

The best treatment is to rest, keep warm and drink plenty of fluids to help flush the germs out of your system. Although there are no drugs to cure colds and flu, there are some non-prescription medications available from pharmacies that can help relieve the symptoms.

Besides relieving symptoms like headache and sore throat, some painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen also help reduce fever. (Paracetamol is best for children – aspirin and ibuprofen are unsuitable for children under 12). As for buying cough medicine, ask your pharmacist to help you choose the best one for your type of cough.

Whenever you buy painkillers or cough and cold remedies, always read the directions carefully. Some of these drugs shouldn’t be taken with other medication, others can cause drowsiness, which can be dangerous if you’re driving or operating machinery. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist.

If you are prescribed antibiotics, remember to finish the whole pack. If you don’t finish the pack or if you take the pills less often than the doctor advices, it means you will have too little medication in your body – not enough to kill the germs, but enough to help the germs learn to become resistant to the drug.

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