Phayao Public Health Office focuses on measures to prevent flu

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PHAYAO, 5 February 2014  Dr. Surin Sumanapan, Provincial Public Health Doctor at Phayao, has released data from the influenza surveillance program from January 1 – February 4, 2014. 

Phayao was reported to have 175 influenza patients which equals a morbidity rate of 35.85 per hundred thousand people. No patient deaths were reported but the morbidity rate is the highest in the country.

The number of patients is higher than in 2013 for the same period at 1.8 times. High numbers of patients have been reported since December 2013 with the highest number in the third week of January 2014.

Patients are found in every district except Pong District. In Muang Phayao District, the greatest number of patients was 87 followed by 30 in Dok Kham Tai District, 14 in Chiang Kham, 13 in Jun District, 12 in Phu Sang District, 9 in Mae Chai District, 7 in Phu Kam Yao District and 3 in Chiang Muan District.

The age group with the highest number is preschool children aged up to 4 years, followed by a group of elementary school students aged 5-9 years and the age group of 10-14 years respectively.

The flu that was found is the H1N1 type which is a seasonal flu. Most patients with this type of flu don’t have severe symptoms and there is a vaccine for protection against it. Severe complications can be found however in some patients, such as those with chronic diseases, people over 65 years old, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and those with low immunity.

The flu can easily be transmitted at home, workplace, or school, in phlegm, mucus and saliva. It can be transmitted from the patient when coughing or sneezing and can affect personal or public utensils.

For germ control and prevention, the focus should be on child care centers and elementary schools.

The key measures include keeping clean those areas where people frequently gather in large numbers, while a major source of infection can be school buses. Importantly, everyone should be careful in preventing the spread of flu as follows:

(1 ) Patients who are most at risk are those with chronic diseases, pregnant women, people over 65 years old, children under 2 years of age, people with low immunity and people struggling with obesity. These people should all be vaccinated against influenza

(2) People with a cold must wear a sanitary mask, and protect their mouth and nose with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, to prevent the spread of germs

(3 ) Wash hands frequently with soap or hand wash.

(4) Avoid being too close to patients ..that is within a meter… and avoid entering places with a high risk of infection, such as areas with likely outbreaks such as crowded places that are poorly ventilated. When required to get near high risk groups sanitary masks must be worn.

(5) Stop family members from going to school or work until fully recovered from a cold, to prevent germs from spreading to others.