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All Year 2020

No need to panic over influenza; practise good personal hygiene, says specialist

Posted on 12:00AM, 15 January, 2020

KPJ Pahang Specialist Hospital resident consultant physician and rheumatologist Dr. Hilmi Abdullah said patients can still recover on their own from the influenza if they adopt good personal hygiene including washing their hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitizer, having enough bed rest and drinking a lot of water.

He said taking the oseltamivir medication, commonly known by its brand name Tamiflu, will usually only help to speed-up the recovery process maybe by a day or two.

"This medication is not compulsory for everyone except for those who are at high risk including young children, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women and those who already have chronic diseases....these groups should get vaccinated for influenza once a year.

"If the respective patient or family lives in an area which has no Tamiflu, he or she should not get worried and travel elsewhere for the medication.

"We have experienced similar situation in the past (shortage of Tamiflu) and the patient later recovered," he told reporters when met at the hospital here today.

Dr. Hilmi, who was asked to comment on the mad rush for the vaccine which had sparked some concern on the social media, said the antiviral medication will also not ensure 100 percent protection as it depends on the different forms and strengths of the virus.

"The influenza virus often varies so it’s best to consult a doctor before seeking any vaccination. Not all cough or flu is resulted by influenza as there are other types of viruses which can attack human body.

"The vaccine should be taken as precaution before we fall ill and not after we are infected with influenza.

"People can usually recover from influenza without taking the Tamiflu vaccination," he said.

Dr Hilmi said the public should not fear to continue with their normal daily lives including visiting public areas.

"There is nothing to fear and those who show symptoms of the influenza should take the necessary precautions.

"They must practise appropriate coughing ethics and wear a face mask, move away from others when coughing or sneezing and always wash hands after coughing or sneezing.

"If using tissues, make sure you dispose them carefully and not leave them around. Make sure the surrounding is clean when visiting restaurants and other areas." he said.

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