The government has ramped up preparedness to tackle any unusual spike in respiratory diseases following reports about a recent outbreak of childhood respiratory illnesses and pneumonia in northern China.

A press release from the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Services said the Union Health Ministry was closely monitoring the respiratory diseases situation after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released a report on the matter.

On reviewing the situation and assessing preparedness in Puducherry region, the Directorate of Health said that available data suggested that there was no abnormal increase in respiratory diseases, accounting for the low incidence of seasonal flu as of now.

As a precautionary measure though, the directorate has made all the facilities to treat those who come with such symptoms in the district hospitals and all the Primary Health Centres. Adequate beds have been allocated to admit and treat such patients at the Government General Hospital, TB Sanatorium (designated Respiratory Care Hospital) in Gorimedu and Indira Gandhi Government Medical College Hospital and Research Institute (IGMCRI).

Testing is underway at the IGMCRI as part of measures to handle seasonal respiratory infections.

The Health Directorate pointed out that seasonal influenza was a mild respiratory illness, usually with or without fever. People with chronic diseases are advised to approach the nearest health facility if they suffer from symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough and difficulty breathing. Everyone is advised to strictly follow the practice of wearing a face mask as there is a habit of sneezing and coughing in crowded places. Avoiding crowded places can help prevent the flu. Proper hand washing and personal hygiene will help prevent infection, the advisory said.

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