Take Flu Vaccine before Winter Starts - Dr. Jimmy Joseph in Khaleej Times

Dr Jimmy Joseph, Specialist, Internal Medicine, Universal Hospital shares that during the winters, the risk of respiratory infections, on an average, increase by 20 to 30 per cent. 

If you have a runny nose, fever or you simply feel tired, don't ignore the symptoms! As summer transitions into winter around October in UAE, high incidence of influenza is reported in the region.
Doctors in the country are witnessing an increase in the number of respiratory infections from the beginning of October.
Influenza is, undoubtedly, a growing concern in the region. "Last week, I had around seven confirmed cases of Influenza A. Out of the OPD patients I consult everyday, 60 to 70 per cent suffer from respiratory illness. Common cases include either upper respiratory infections like Sinusitis, Laryngitis, severe sore throat, or lower respiratory infections like Bronchitis or Pneumonia," adds Dr Joseph.
The Department of Health has shared information about influenza on their website.

Symptoms of flu

1. fever* or feeling feverish/chills
2. cough
3. sore throat
4. runny or stuffy nose
5. muscle or body aches
6. headaches
7. fatigue (very tired)
8. some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

How flu spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

Period of contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

When to get vaccinated against seasonal flu

Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September, or as soon as vaccine is available, and continue throughout the flu season. While flu season can begin early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January or later.

Who should get vaccinated?

While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that certain people get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.

Who is at higher risk for developing flu-related complications?

Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old,
Adults 65 years of age and older
Pregnant women, and, 
People who have medical conditions including:
Asthma (even if it's controlled or mild)
Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
Kidney disorders
Liver disorders
Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater)