Flu News Europe
- Influenza activity remained high across the region with high or very high intensity in 10 out of 43 reporting countries.
- The proportion of influenza virus detections among sentinel surveillance specimens was around 50% for the third consecutive week.
- The great majority of influenza viruses detected were type A and, of those subtyped, 99% were A(H3N2).
- The number of influenza cases from hospital settings also increased, markedly for predominantly adults aged over 65 diagnosed with influenza A virus infection.
- Excess all-cause mortality seems to have been increasing among the elderly, notably in France and Portugal (EuroMOMO).
1. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
wash your hands properly
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Wash hands with soap and clean, running water (if available):
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy
Vaccination & Antiviral Medications
- So far, circulating A(H3N2) viruses are antigenically similar to the vaccine strain. While about two-thirds of the A(H3N2) viruses characterized belong to a new genetic subclade (3C.2a1), these viruses are antigenically similar to the vaccine strain (clade 3C.2a). according to Flunews Europe, January15, 2017
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
- Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.
- Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
- Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
- For people with high risk factors[702 KB, 2 pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
- Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk factor or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
Some antibiotics worse than the illness? Science says yes
Like all drugs, Antibiotics can have unwanted and serious side effects, some of which may not become apparent until many thousands of patients have been treated.
Such is the case with an important class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. The best known are Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin) and Avelox (moxifloxacin). Levofloxacin was also the subject of more than 2,000 lawsuits from patients who had suffered severe reactions after taking it.
Fluoroquinolones are often inappropriately prescribed.
Instead of being reserved for use against serious, perhaps life-threatening bacterial infections like hospital-acquired pneumonia, these antibiotics are frequently prescribed for sinusitis, bronchitis, earaches and other ailments that may resolve on their own or can be treated with less potent drugs or nondrug remedies — or are caused by viruses, which are not susceptible to antibiotics.
Dr. Mahyar Etminan, a pharmacological epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia, who has has denounced to the international community that the drugs were overused “by lazy doctors who are trying to kill a fly with an automatic weapon.” directed a study published in April in
The Journal of the American Medical Association showing that the risk of suffering a potentially blinding retinal detachment was nearly fivefold higher among current users of fluoroquinolones, compared with nonusers.
In another study submitted for publication, he documented a significantly increased risk of acute kidney failure among users of these drugs.
The conditions Dr. Etminan has studied are relatively easy to research because they result in hospitalizations with diagnoses that are computerized and tracked in databases.
Debilitating Side Effects
In addition to being unable to walk uphill, climb stairs or see clearly, symptoms are reported to included dry eyes, mouth and skin; ringing in his ears; delayed urination; uncontrollable shaking; burning pain in his eyes and feet; occasional tingling in his hands and feet; heart palpitations; and muscle spasms in his back and around his eyes.
Adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones may occur almost anywhere in the body. In addition to occasional unwanted effects on the musculoskeletal, visual and renal systems, the drugs in rare cases can seriously injure the central nervous system (causing “brain fog,” depression, hallucinations and psychotic reactions), the heart, liver, skin (painful, disfiguring rashes and phototoxicity), the gastrointestinal system (nausea and diarrhea), hearing and blood sugar metabolism.
The rising use of these potent drugs has also been blamed for increases in two very serious, hard-to-treat infections: antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as MRSA) and severe diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile. One study found that fluoroquinolones were responsible for 55 percent of C. difficile infections at one hospital in Quebec.
The FDA announced on August 15, 2013, that fluoroquinolone drugs such as Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox will be required to change packaging inserts to contain…see more by Blog Natural News
Beyond any worries for the medications' side effects, to succeed combating the flu or other viral uinfections, when an antibiotic is appropriately prescribed, it is extremely important to take the full prescription as directed and not to stop treatment when the patient simply begins to feel better, according to the official medical guidelines
A half-dozen fluoroquinolones have been taken off the market because of unjustifiable risks of adverse effects. Those that remain are undeniably important drugs, when used appropriately. But doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have expressed concern that too often fluoroquinolones are prescribed unnecessarily as a “one size fits all” remedy without considering their suitability for different patients.
Experts caution against giving these drugs to certain patients who face higher than average risks of bad reactions — children under age 18, adults over 60, and pregnant and nursing women — unless there is no effective alternative. The risk of adverse effects is also higher among people with liver disease and those taking corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Guidelines by the American Thoracic Society state that fluoroquinolones should not be used as a first-line treatment for community-acquired pneumonia; it recommends that doxycycline or a macrolide be tried first.
A version of this article appears in print on 09/11/2012, on page D7 of the NewYork edition with the headline: A Cure That Can Be Worse Than the Illness
More longterm studies needed
No one knows how often serious adverse reactions occur. The F.D.A.’s reporting system for adverse effects is believed to capture only about 10 percent of them. Complicating the problem is that, unlike retinal detachments that were linked only to current or very recent use of a fluoroquinolone, the drugs’ adverse effects on other systems can show up weeks or months after the treatment ends; in such cases, patients’ symptoms may never be associated with prior fluoroquinolone therapy.
Pandemic is a Greek world and is defined as an infectious disease or epidemic that spreads across large regions through human populations; from continent-to-continent or worldwide.
Protection From Swine Flu
Take the advice of health professionals and protect yourself from the H1N1 virus
- Influenza viruses like the swine flu can
remain from 2 to 8 hours on surfaces people often could not imagine, like on doorknobs and books
- Killing the virus can be accomplished by applying heat: (167-212°F [75-100°C])
- Cleaning agents like chlorine, hydrogen-dioxide, alcohols, detergents, soaps, and iodine antiseptics (iodophors) are recommended to clean surface that spread the virus. as well.
- Surfaces that are most likely to spread the virus are doorknobs, desks, toys, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and shopping carts.
- The germs are spread when a person touches a contaminated object and touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. In addition, people can get the virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs and the germs are spread in the air.
Protection from swine flu also entails practicing healthy habits by
- keeping surfaces clean
- using house disinfectants,
- disposing tissues,
and washing your hands with soap and water after touching
- tissues and
- similar waste.
Pandemic flu SOS Alert by the Greek CDC
The number of deaths due to the H1N1 pandemic flu virus continues to rise in Greece and has already reached the 70 vicitims since the beginning of flu season, according to the Greek Center for Disease Control (KEELPNO) announcement on Tuesday, March 3. The number of flu-infected patients that are at currently hospitalised in Intensive Care Units is 53, reaching a total of 208 people who required so far ICU hospitalisation.
Τhe majority of patients infected with H1N1, according to the Greek CDC, were not vaccinated against the flu, although they were belonging to the vulnerable population groups suffering from chronic health problems, experts say, adding the epidemiological expectation that the flue season has overcome its peak and will end up at the end of March.
Are Greeks and the greek households prepared on this moment to avoid further infections, severe complications and more deaths in the community, and also, is the Health System fortified adequately to intercept further deaths ?