Maria Regina College - Għargħur Primary Official Website

Circular to Parents: Prevention Against Influenza

Influenza is an ailment that is highly contagious, caused by influenza viruses. In fact, it creates infections in the nose, throat, and lungs and can be one of the serious diseases during the Winter season. The majority of healthy people overcome influenza viruses without any complications but persons such as old people, children, and persons with certain health conditions or chronic illnesses are at risk of having complications due to this virus.

Therefore, as we have started the influenza season, it is essential that one focuses on measures of prevention so as to prevent it from spreading.

Vaccinations are the best measure of prevention as it decreases the risk of one catching the influenza virus, as well as spreading it to others. Apart from vaccinations, one can avoid spreading of the disease through simple preventions, since it is easily passed on to other persons. In fact, a person is likely to pass on the virus during the first 5 days of symptoms. Therefore, to decrease the risk of spreading it is important to regularly wash hands with warm water and soap; use tissues when coughing and sneezing and these are to be disposed of as soon as possible. It is advised to avoid reporting for work or attend school if sick in order to prevent it from spreading.

Influenza symptoms are evident quickly and may include abrupt high temperature, pain, exhaustion and tiredness, dry cough or with bile, sore throat, headaches, difficulty to sleep, lack of appetite, diarrhea or stomach ache, nausea or vomit.

To recover quickly one is advised to rest and sleep it off; keep warm, and to take paracetamol to lower temperatures and control aches. In addition, it is beneficial to drink a lot of water.

The pharmacist can be also of a lot of support and can recommend remedies to decrease influenza symptoms. It is recommended that persons who are suffering of influenza are to seek the advice of the family doctor especially if the symptoms still persist after seven (7) days, for young children and persons over 65 years of age, pregnant women, persons with chronic illnesses (such as diabetes or heart conditions, lungs, kidneys or neurological) and persons having a weak immune system (such persons taking chemotherapy or with HIV). Naturally, the family doctor should examine the patient and refer for more cure as necessary. Antibiotics are not recommended for influenza because it is caused by a virus and antibiotics are beneficial only for superimposed bacterial infections as prescribed by doctors.

It is essential that one takes care of him/herself during this influenza season by taking care of his/her health and avoiding this disease by taking preventive measures such as the vaccination. Vaccinations are offered for free to all persons over six months of age at all health centers.