Prevention or cure?

Moyahabo Mabeba

Moyahabo Mabeba

It seems summer has bid an impromptu farewell only to welcome what might prove to be one of the worst winters this side of the equator.

So you think it is far too early to be worried about flu jabs and anxious dashes to the nearby doctor?

With the combination of unprecedented load shedding and the cruel winter ahead it has become imperative to prevent added stress.

So to avoid being bedridden with the flu this winter, be prepared and go for vaccination.

Spokesman for the Limpopo provincial department of health and social development, Phuti Seloba, has called on all citizens of the province to go for flu vaccination.

Though Seloba said his department would not necessarily launch milestone campaigns on flu vaccination, he urged people to go for flu immunisation.

"We must not delude ourselves," Seloba said. "The threat of an influenza pandemic has not diminished.

"While it is everyone's responsibility to go for flu vaccination, we as a department urge people to go for vaccination."

He said the vaccine should be available at all clinics and hospitals in the province.

At most Clicks pharmacies in Polokwane vaccination is done for R50.

A Polokwane pharmacist said flu, or influenza, is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, sinuses, upper airways and lungs.

It is mostly a mild disease in healthy children, young adults and middle-aged people. It is completely different from the common cold virus.

The pharmacist said a person who is attacked by flu will have a persistent cough and experience a sore throat and runny or stuffy nose.

Headaches and muscle aches are sometimes part of the package.

Then there is the fatigue, which can get a little extreme if you are unlucky.

Sometimes flu is accompanied by nausea and or vomiting.

To make things a bit easier for the doctor or the pharmacist, it would be better to explain it in clinical terminology as "stomach flu".

The pharmacist said these symptoms might last up to two weeks for the average person, but extreme cases might take longer to heal - or might be fatal - so get vaccinated now.

For those who don't like needles, some drugs called Tamiinfluenza and Relenza have been developed and are now available over the counter with countless other medications that treat flu before it even begins.