8 February, 2018
Hong Kong has entered the winter influenza season. Influenza or ‘the flu’ is a highly contagious respiratory infection that causes a cluster of symptoms such as fever, muscle ache, cough, sore throat, runny nose and headache. influenza can be diagnosed by a simple nose swab in our clinics.
Treatment for Influenza - Tamiflu
If you are diagnosed with influenza, the doctor can prescribe Tamiflu which is an antiviral medicine and can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. It is most effective if started within the first 48 hours of symptoms. Not everyone with influenza needs Tamiflu, and most people recover within one to two weeks without treatment. However, in children, elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying ailments, serious complications of the flu can occur and the doctor may decide it is appropriate to start Tamiflu.
Tamiflu can cause mild side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhoea and headache. In very rare cases, it can cause nervous system and behavioural problems such as confusion, hallucinations, shakiness or seizures. The chance may be higher in children so be alert to changes in behaviour and contact the doctor if you notice anything unusual.
Preventing Flu – Get Vaccinated!
The most effective way to prevent influenza is by getting the ‘flu shot’. This is especially important in young children, elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying ailments. People who are vaccinated form antibodies which destroy the virus if you are exposed later on, it generally takes about 2 weeks to make these antibodies.
Surveillance data in Hong Kong since January 2018 has shown influenza B to be the most predominant strain circulating, followed by influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2). The quadrivalent vaccine has been approved for use in Hong Kong and provides the most comprehensive coverage. It provides protection against the 2 influenza A strains (H1N1, H3N2) and 2 influenza B strains (Yagamata and Victoria) which are the most prevalent. New supply of flu vaccines for adults and children from 6 months of age is available now, in our Outpatient Department, the Peak; Matilda Medical Centre, Central; and Matilda Clinic – Caine Road. We’ll call those on our waiting list first for arranging a flu shot. To get vaccinated in this flu season, please book early with one of our clinics.
Primary Care Team at Matilda International Hospital