CPS reminds persons to get their flu vaccine

POSTED: 10/28/14 9:17 PM

St. Maarten—Persons, especially persons that fall into the high risk category, are urged by minister of public health and the Collective Preventative Services(CPS) to get their annual flu shots. Influenza is an acute viral infection that spreads very easily from person to person, and can affect anybody in any age group.

“Check with your physician to see whether or not you are part of the high risk group and be proactive.  Get vaccinated and apply strict and consistent preventive measures to stop you from getting the flu,” Minister of Public Health, Cornelius de Weever said.  Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations.  Vaccination (flu shot) is the most effective way to prevent infection.

Persons who form part of the risk groups are: pregnant women who are in the last six months of pregnancy or second trimester – from their fourth month onwards;  persons with pulmonary disease: asthma (when maintenance medication is given; this also holds true for children), COPD, carcinoma of the lung, anthracosilicosis, lungfibrosis , mucoviscidosis, severe kyfoscoliosis, status after resection of a lung, breathing difficulties;  with cardiac disease: having experienced a myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, arrhythmias, valve dysfunction, cardiac failure; with diabetes mellitus, even if not on medication;  with chronic kidney disease/failure: dialysis, kidney transplant; after a recent bone marrow transplant;  with HIV-infection; with an intellectual disability in an intramural setting; with a diminished resistance to infections: livercirrosis, (functional) asplenia, auto-immune illnesses, chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medication; 60 years and older.

Front-line workers as well as health care workers who may be in contact with patients pertaining to the medical risk groups (personnel in nursing homes, senior citizen home, hospital, outpatient clinics and general practitioner/specialist practices), are also encouraged to get their flu vaccination. Home care givers of persons with a very high risk for severe illness and mortality attributed to the flu should also be vaccinated.

The symptoms of the flu virus in people are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms are asked to consult their family physician in due time and to not place others at risk. “Take the necessary protection when in the vicinity of any sick persons. Apply strict cough etiquette and proper hand hygiene. Eat healthy foods, get a lot of exercise and maintain a good sleep schedule which is usually eight hours,” the preventative services press release concluded.

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