Colds and flu

Updated 30 August 2016

No need to panic about swine flu

The Western Cape Health Department says there's no reason to panic following reports of an outbreak of swine flu in the Southern Cape.

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Reports of a swine flu outbreak in the George area, with more than 20 people reportedly being treated, have caused much concern amongst Western Cape residents.

Deputy director of communications at the Western Cape health Department, Mark van der Heever, said it is important to note, however, that swine flu is now part of our seasonal strain and If you had flu, it most likely was swine flu.

The illness is characterised by sudden onset of constitutional and respiratory symptoms such as fever, body pains, cough, sore throat, runny nose and headache.

Read: Swine influenza

Stay alert

Flu can cause serious illness in some people, leading to hospitalisation and even death.

People at increased risk of developing severe influenza include pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, nervous system disorders, or a weakened immune system.

According to health 24’s resident flu expert Dr Heidi van Deventer, residents should go to the doctor if they have any signs or symptoms of flu; this includes sore and aching joints or muscles, fever, chills, a runny nose and coughing.

There is a test for swine flu, which has to be confirmed in the laboratory for a conclusive diagnosis of swine flu to be made.  Furthermore, residents can keep their immune systems strong with supplements, as well as a healthy diet, lifestyle and reduced stress. This might help them to avoid coming down with the flu. 

Read:  Five things you need to know about the flu vaccine

Protect yourself

In the majority of people flu is an uncomplicated illness, lasting 3–7 days. People at increased risk of developing severe influenza include pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, nervous system disorders, or a weakened immune system.

Flu vaccination is especially important for these people. South African data indicates that on average approximately 10 000 people die from seasonal flu-related illness every winter.

Read more:

Symptoms of flu

Causes of flu

Preventing flu


 

Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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