Local December 22, 2021 | 9:05 am

How to avoid worse illnesses due to influenza virus

Clevy Pérez, infectologist.

Santo Domingo, DR
The first care to be taken by a patient who starts with respiratory symptoms with suspected influenza is to go to the doctor for a correct diagnosis and isolate themself at home to avoid infecting others due to its easy spread.

Diagnosis is fundamental because, in addition to influenza, Covid-19 and dengue are currently circulating, whose initial symptoms of fever, respiratory tract congestion, general malaise, headache, sore throat, and muscular pain are similar. Still, the treatments are different, explains the Dominican Society of Infectious Diseases president, Clevy Perez.

Viruses have an impact.
She said that currently, many respiratory viruses are affecting. Hence, the person shouldn’t wait for days to go to the doctor because it is often the case that they arrive with complications and reinforce the isolation to avoid contagion.

Perez explains that there are people who, despite having respiratory symptoms, go to work and social activities and infect other people.

She reminds us that influenza, like other respiratory viruses, has a fever of three to five days, but after that, it is a warning sign that can become complicated. Still, since Covid-19 is circulating, the recommendation is to go immediately to the doctor to get tested.

Acetaminophen, hydration, and vaccination
To manage influenza symptoms, including fever and muscle pain, the specialist recommends that the patient take acetaminophen or paracetamol, which is the same. Still, no more than four grams a day to avoid liver damage and drink fluids to stay hydrated.

For outpatient management, the physician prescribes the patient antiviral drugs used for influenza, depending on the risk factors and the time of evolution of the patient. In contrast, other medications are used for complicated patients.

Among the complications that influenza can cause if not adequately treated are viral and secondary bacterial pneumonia, even presenting acute respiratory symptoms that lead to ventilation.

FIGURES

252,000.
The Ministry of Public Health has applied 252,000 doses of seasonal influenza A (H1N1), A (H3N2), and type B influenza vaccine, reaching 56% of the vulnerable population. Nicole Batlle, director of the Expanded Program of Immunization (PAI), informed that in the month and seven days since the beginning of the vaccination process against influenza, 252 thousand doses have been applied out of 450 thousand received in the country to protect vulnerable groups.

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