The number of cases of acute respiratory infections and influenza is increasing. The same goes for cases of bronchitis, which is a secondary infection of the flu due to poor management. It is also one of the complications that the most vulnerable people can experience, according to Dr Fazil Khodabocus, doctor in the public health service.

Dr. Fazil Khodabocus recommends not trivializing the flu and consulting a doctor.
Dr. Fazil Khodabocus recommends not trivializing the flu and consulting a doctor.

Faced with cases of influenza and acute respiratory infection which continue to increase worryingly, an increase in cases of bronchitis is recorded every week in public health services. This is what public health physician Dr. Fazil Khodabocus says.

According to him, with frequent drops in temperature expected this season, the number of flu cases is expected to increase further if adequate measures are not taken to prevent flu and its complications. Among these measures are vaccination, which is always available, a healthy and balanced diet, good sleep, as well as combating stress, among others. Dr. Fazil Khodabocus emphasizes the importance of not trivializing the flu and of consulting a doctor if symptoms persist in order to receive the appropriate treatment.

Bronchitis is one of the complications of the flu. In certain circumstances, the immune system can be weakened due to various comorbidities, adds the public health doctor. “Flu is a viral infection that can be treated with paracetamol for those who are not allergic to this medicine. However, immunocompromised people can develop a bacterial superinfection which may require antibiotics in some cases,” he says.

Figures over the past three weeks indicate that the number of cases of respiratory infections and flu rose from 4,441 in the period May 27 to June 2 to 5,000 between June 10 and 16. This upward trend is expected to continue with frequent temperature drops, according to Dr. Fazil Khodabocus.

“The cold and dry climate favors the transmission of viruses. Among those circulating, there is the adenovirus, the AH3N2 virus as well as COVID-19, which all present almost the same symptoms,” he explains. In some cases, it may be a double infection of influenza and Covid-19, which can cause complications, he warns. Hence his call to be examined by a doctor in order to receive the appropriate medication.

He recalls that the flu is accompanied by fever, sore throat, dry cough, body aches and runny nose. In the event of superinfection, the cough becomes more persistent, the bronchi wheeze and the cold becomes more purulent. This may then be a case of bronchitis, the number of cases of which is also increasing and can sometimes require hospitalization, emphasizes Dr. Khodabocus.

“Bronchitis is a bacterial superinfection like sinusitis, otitis or even pneumonia. It is important to be checked by a doctor, because the situation can worsen quickly,” he warns. Children under the age of five, the elderly, immunocompromised people, patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, as well as patients with cancer or on dialysis are among those most at risk. They can develop potentially fatal health complications, adds the public health doctor.

“We should not trivialize the flu, avoid self-medication and take all necessary precautions, such as wearing warm clothes and avoiding cold drinks which can cause allergies,” adds Dr Khodabocus. He underlines the importance of good hand hygiene and wearing a health mask, particularly in poorly ventilated places, and of covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Dr Khodabocus also recalls that vaccination is one of the ways to prevent influenza and its complications.

According to the latest available figures, more than 100,000 people have been vaccinated. This includes members of the general public who were inoculated in public health services as well as elderly people whose vaccination is covered by the Ministry of Social Integration.

The serum is still available and is recommended for the most vulnerable people: pregnant women, the elderly, children under five years old and those suffering from chronic illnesses (cancer, diabetes, respiratory illnesses). They are more at risk of developing complications from the flu.

Dr. Khodabocus also points out that sick people should respect their doctor's recommendations by staying at home to rest and so as not to infect those around them. “The flu is highly contagious,” he recalls.

Rainy weather and drop in temperature on Saturday

The Vacoas weather station indicates that this Saturday, June 22, 2024, a slight drop in temperature is expected due to rainy and windy weather. The lack of sunlight will increase the feeling of cold throughout the day. Showers will be scattered, but more frequent in the East, in the South and on the central plateau.

Minimum temperatures will reach 15 degrees Celsius (°C) in the heights, while in Port Louis, they will oscillate between 21 and 22°C. The sea will be passable in the lagoons, although conditions will be rougher beyond the reefs. Improved weather is forecast for Sunday, providing a lull after a wet and cool day.

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