Seasonal Flu is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza virus, which circulate in all parts of the World. The flu season varies from one country to another and from one season to another in the same country.
As the Sultanate of Oman is one of the semi-tropical countries, the seasonal flu viruses will continue to appear throughout the year. However, the viruses start actively early in September and could continue until the mid of May, maximum two times a year.
In 2017, the Sultanate has recorded (952) influenza cases and (8) deaths till the current October, while (1492) cases and (9) deaths in 2016, as well as (25) flu deaths have been recorded in 2015. Most of these cases were among the high-risk categories of flu complications.
Usually, after two days of exposure to the virus, the flu-infected person may feel some or all the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or blocked nose, body and muscle ache, tiredness (feeling unwell) and vomiting and diarrhea among some people, especially the children. The condition of some patients may worsen and lead to death.
The flu infection is spread through cough or sneeze. In some cases, the infection may occur by touching surfaces or objects contaminated by influenza infection then followed by touching eyes or mouth or nose.
The infection can be transmitted before one-day of symptoms and approximately 5 – 7 days after the symptoms. The infection transmission may last for a long period among the children, as well as people with immune deficiency.
Treatment of influenza requires drinking lot of water, rest and taking the antiviral medicines that can reduce serious complications and deaths, especially for the high-risk groups.
To prevent the disease, the preventive measures such as covering mouth and nose when coughing and hands washing regularly should be taking.
Seasonal vaccine is recommended for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications including, health-care workers, pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, elderly individuals, patients with chronic medical conditions (such as patients with HIV/ AIDS and those who taking immunosuppressive drugs), as well as pilgrims.