De Weever: Get vaccinated

POSTED: 01/11/13 12:17 PM

St. Maarten – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), is recommending high risk groups to get their seasonal flu vaccination.

As part of the Minister of Public Health’s “Get Checked,” campaign, 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 take measures to prevent 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.

The US flu season has hit early and hard. According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), this is the earliest flu season in 10-years, and 80 percent of the United States is seeing severe flu symptoms.

Persons who form part of the risk groups are:

  • all pregnant women who are in the last six months of pregnancy or second trimester– from their fourth month onwards;
  • 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), should get their flu vaccination.

Home care givers of people with a very high risk for severe illness and mortality due 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.

Members of the community are advised to check with their family physician on their seasonal flu vaccine and are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their family members from infection at home and especially traveling by maintaining high standards of personal hygiene.

Steps of personal hygiene entail covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough; washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., after sneezing and coughing).

Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Consult your family physician in due time and do not place others at risk. Take the necessary protection when in the vicinity of any sick persons.

Eat healthy foods, get a lot of exercise and maintain a good sleep schedule which is usually eight hours.


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