According to the latest epidemiological report from Cerêmi de Salud, cases were found in people over the age of 65 and in children aged 1 to 4 years. In addition, hospitalization of children below 14 years of age has also been observed.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the virus of the same name, spread throughout the year and mainly aggravated in winter, affecting mainly children, adolescents and people over 60 years of age. affects. Dr. Arlet Andrade, Pediatric Bronchopulmonary Specialist at the Hospital de la Serena, makes a special appeal to families not to expose the youngest members of the household or the elderly to situations that increase the risk of illness and calls for vaccination You get strength. As one of the current respiratory diseases with the highest viral prevalence in the country, it is the only one against which we have a containment mechanism.
Influenza virus presents four types: A, B, C and D, of which the first two (influenza A and B) are responsible for making humans ill with respiratory symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Like other viruses, it is spread through droplets that come out when people cough, sneeze or talk and can expel the virus up to a meter away. Therefore, the disease spreads more easily in winter, because in colder environments, people are more confined and less ventilated, conditions that allow these microorganisms to survive more.
Dr. Andrade explains that “influenza has an incubation period of 1 to 4 days, and we can start spreading it as early as 2 days before we show symptoms and up to a week later. The disease affects children, adolescents, and adults, characterized by a fever lasting more than three days, as well as headache, myalgia, which is physical pain, and a marked loss of sensation characterized by little or no desire to move. is expressed as to move Rise. Other symptoms are cough, nasal congestion and pain on swallowing (odynophagia).
It should be noted that pediatricians make a special call to parents or caregivers of young children to avoid exposure and pay attention to the signs, because “unfortunately newborns do not show obvious symptoms, so when If we find out that something bad is happening, it is too late. In patients under two years of age, the picture is much more non-specific, as they include fever and upper respiratory symptoms such as cough and nasal congestion. Therefore, from a diagnostic point of view, it is possible only with history and physical examination. It is not possible to determine whether it is influenza or not and for that we have to rely on laboratory tests. Influenza Diarrhea in Pediatric Patients and may also present with digestive symptoms such as vomiting, which are not frequent in adults.
Bronchopulmonary indicates that the warning signs of influenza are the same as those of any other respiratory infection. “We should pay attention to fever, and especially if it persists for more than 3 days, it is also important to pay attention to breathing, if the ribs sink in while breathing, the wings of the nose are swollen or you Breathes rapidly or with difficulty. On the other hand, note blue color or cyanosis of the lips, extremities of the hands or feet, if there is significant decay, compromise of consciousness and/or rejection of food, all of which are danger signs. and we should consult a specialist. Emergency service immediately. Urgency, ideally the closest to your home”.
How to prevent influenza?
To prevent influenza, experts emphasize three key factors: personal protection measures, environmental hygiene measures, and vaccination. In this context, Dr. Arlette Andrade explains that “In case of any respiratory infection, it is important to wash hands to cut the chain of transmission of the virus, avoid contact with sick people, avoid crowded places like malls or supermarkets Avoid going to places with Try not to take children to such places. In addition, it is very important to ventilate the house, at least twice a day, always keep it well cleaned, avoid exposure to indoor pollutants such as tobacco smoke, firewood or any other substance.
Take note of the following recommendations to take care of your and your family’s health. The main personal protection measures are: Wearing a mask correctly, especially in crowded places like public transport, and more so if you have respiratory symptoms. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, and use disposable tissues. Avoid crowded places and avoid close contact with people with symptoms.
With regard to environmental hygiene measures, experts recommend: Ventilate closed spaces, clean frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, cell phones or desks. Avoid indoor contamination, for this do not smoke indoors, avoid heating from pollution-causing stoves, as these substances irritate the lungs, making it more difficult for people to breathe.
Do you know that we have advantage against influenza? Use it, it’s free!
Vaccination against influenza is a great protection tool because, of the current respiratory diseases, it is the only one for which we have a prevention mechanism. This is confirmed by Dr. Andrade, “We have to take advantage of the influenza vaccine, it is annual and free, whose campaign starts every year between the months of March and April. This year coverage considers children in the pediatric age group of 6 months to 10 years; It is also given to adults over 60 years of age and other risk groups such as pregnant women, immunosuppressed and chronically ill people with pathologies such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, all of whom are entitled to receive the influenza vaccine during the winter Are. season. ,
Health teams and officials have redoubled their efforts to increase vaccination coverage in the area, provide access facilities, set up vaccination points in shopping centres, supermarkets, traditional festivals, besides common points set up in CESFAM to enhance the vaccination schedule Will also include weekends. In this context, the Coquimbo Region Health Department implemented the following telephone number +569 2020 4090, so that people can request vaccination at home via WhatsApp messaging from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the service mainly Whom it serves This is mainly for people with reduced mobility, children and older adults who have difficulty getting close to the above vaccination centers.
Avoid unnecessary risks for your children
Now that children are on vacation, the first advice experts give is not to keep them in places with a large number of people and in terms of activities, give priority to outdoor spaces. In addition, it makes an important call to “don’t vaccinate newborns, because babies under six months of age have very weak immune systems and, because of their age, they haven’t had all the vaccines, so they’re not well protected.” The ideal thing is that they keep in touch mainly with the nuclear family. We know that the arrival of a new member in the family is a great event and everyone wants to meet him and the parents. But the recommendation at this point of time is that we use technology and get to know the baby first through pictures and videos and let’s wait until it is six months ideally Lets do it.”