Swine flu hits Amanzimtoti

Flu symptoms develop about one to three days after being exposed to the virus, and doctors have recommended that residents get flu vaccines.

Flu season has hit and swine flu (H1N1 influenza virus) has infected at least two Amanzimtoti residents, reports South Coast Sun.

John Boraine, 58, was admitted to Kingsway Hospital early last Monday morning and was discharged on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m feeling much better today (Tuesday). It felt like the same symptoms I had two years ago when I had pneumonia, but on Sunday I started vomiting, shivering and my heart beat accelerated, so I told my wife to take me to the hospital at about 4am. I had X-rays done and they said it was pneumonia, but then the doctors did a swab and took blood, and they confirmed it was the H1N1 virus,” said John. He was put in isolation on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Parents in Bloem urged to take note of swine flu symptoms

He said the nurse who attended him said he was the second case of H1N1 she was dealing with. Kingsway Hospital would not confirm any cases of H1N1 reported.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of infections caused by other flu strains and can include: fever (but not always), chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, watery, red eyes, body aches, headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Flu symptoms develop about one to three days after being exposed to the virus.

Dr Pete Vincent of Medicross Tokai and Netcare Travel Clinics said: “The flu virus is constantly mutating and changing and, while many different types of flu virus strains exist, the annual vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu strains that are likely to be in circulation during that particular flu season.

“Getting vaccinated against flu is the responsible thing for all South Africans to do. It is, however, particularly important for those who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu virus, including individuals who have weakened or immature immune systems. One should preferably have the vaccine administered ahead of the flu season, or as soon as possible during the winter, so that the protection it offers lasts throughout the season.”

He suggests that the individuals most at risk of developing serious complications from flu include:

  • Those who are 65 years of age and older;
  • Individuals who have respiratory conditions such as asthma or emphysema;
  • People who may have compromised immune systems such as HIV-positive individuals, or those undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancer;
  • Those who have chronic conditions such as compromised heart or kidney function or diabetes;
  • Women who are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy;
  • Babies and small children.

According to Dr Vincent, a flu vaccine is developed annually according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) strain recommendations, for both the southern and northern hemisphere flu seasons.

“The annual Southern hemisphere vaccine that is available to South Africans usually provides protection from the three strains of the flu virus that are identified by WHO researchers as likely to be the most prevalent during that particular season. This year’s Southern hemisphere trivalent vaccine protects against two influenza A and one influenza B strains.”

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