WHO: Five simple steps to protect against flu

8 November, 2019

Extract below and a comment from me. Full text here: https://medium.com/@who/five-simple-steps-to-protect-against-flu-30465fa...

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The most common symptoms of influenza (flu) include fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, a sore throat and a runny nose.

Each year, millions of people come down with flu. Most recover within a week, but for an unlucky few, flu can be deadly.

Seasonal flu epidemics typically occur in late autumn and winter, so we can anticipate them, and prepare accordingly.

In tropical regions, influenza can occur throughout the year, causing outbreaks more irregularly, but prevention is still important.

Here’s how you can protect yourself, and those around you.

- Get vaccinated...

- Wash your hands regularly...

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth...

- Avoid being around sick people...

- If you don’t feel well, stay home...

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Comment (Neil PW): These are simple steps and readily understandable. However, it misses out a sixth step that is quite important. Flu is commonly spread by touch: directly such as through handshakes and indirectly through contaminated surfaces. As the WHO website says elsewhere: "Clean and disinfect surfaces if you are sharing a home with someone who is sick." https://www.who.int/influenza/spotlight

The advice raises the question: What is the current level of knowledge among the general public on how to protect themselves from flu? I suspect few people in any country would know all the five (or six) steps. I did a quick google search on this and cound not immediately find any answers, other than a recent study from South Africa that suggests low level of knowledge regarding flu vacination.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org