By Noimot Olayiwola/Staff Reporter

As the flu season is expected to begin around the world during this month and continue to peak in places like the US in January or February, a Qatari general practitioner has cautioned families about the need to safeguard themselves against contracting the seasonal disease.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.
It can cause mild to severe illness and serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalisation or death.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
“It is important for parents to keep their children from school when they (children) show signs of high fever and flu in order to prevent the spread of the virus to other children,” Dr Hashem al-Sayed cautioned.
He explained that if any sick child should attend school, he/she should be made to wear mask and should avoid sharing eating utensils with other students.
“These viruses can easily spread among kindergarten and nursery schoolchildren if these precautions were not observed. And parents are also to be educated to stop sending sick children to school in order to protect others,” he stressed.
Dr al-Sayed said that similar precautions should be observed at home as well.
According to the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills; cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches; headaches; fatigue (very tired); and some people may have vomiting and diarrhoea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccines for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.
“Keeping good personal hygiene including regular hand washing will keep bacteria and viruses at bay. But the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year,” Dr al-Sayed insisted while mentioning that seasonal flu vaccines are available in all primary healthcare centres and the Vaccination Centres across the country.

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