Flu warning for Winter season
Health authorities in the UAE have urged people to be cautious during the flu season. Doctors have warned about the rise in the number of patients they are witnessing since September.
Dr Meerasahib Shamsudin Saud, internal medicine specialist at the Universal Hospital, urged parents to keep an eye out on their children for flu-like symptoms.
He said the hospital had been receiving at least 10 cases per day of patients carrying the influenza virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, chills, runny nose, fatigue, and vomiting.
“The flu is very common. Children are usually the ones spreading it at home from school. We had a case of a husband whose wife and their two children were all infected and admitted to the hospital.” He added the flu was first caught by the daughter, which then spread throughout the entire family.
Dr Saud warned that people who feel shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and chest pain, should be admitted to their nearest hospital.
“If left untreated, influenza can cause serious complications. It can even progress to other serious illnesses, which may even cause death.”
Dr Maria Siddique Panhwar, general practitioner at the Bareen International Hospital, said since September, she has received at least 50 cases of patients carrying the virus. “Prevention is more important than cure, that’s why the vaccine is important.”
She stressed that children in schools are more prone to catching the virus and transmitting it to the family.
“People with low immunities are especially at risk. They can get secondary infections or morbid diseases, which can be deadly.”
Dr Magdi Mohamed, emergency medicine specialist at Burjeel Hospital, said around 20 per cent of the patients admitted in the emergency department have the flu or flu-like symptoms.
“We are receiving too many cases with flu-like symptoms and they are mainly related to the weather change. Around 50 patients per day come in with flu-like illness. The high-risk patients include children, pregnant women, and the elderly.”
Dr Mohamed said the flu could also be a grave danger to people who already suffer from other illnesses.
He said although the flu vaccine might cause some allergies or even cause “slight fever”, doctors recommend people to take the vaccine. However, the vaccine is not recommended for people with severe allergies and those with acute illness.