Health Board: Peak of flu wave still ahead
According to the Health Board, this season’s Influenza virus infections are still on the rise, and the peak has not been reached yet. Several hospitals are closed for visitors due to the epidemic. Infections are expected to increase once school starts again next week.
Public relations manager for the Health Board, Iiris Saluri, said on Friday that they had had calls about closing the hospitals to visitors, with family members of patients complaining that access had been restricted.
Saluri said that it was too early to talk about the peak of this season’s flu wave, as most schools would open only next week, and statistically this always meant an increase in the number of infections.
Apart from the elderly, the epidemic mainly threatens people already suffering from other conditions, which is why anyone suffering from chronic diseases should get vaccinated. If such a step couldn’t be taken for health reasons, at least family members should do it in order to keep risks low.
The risks were real, Saluri said, adding that among the latest sad news was the death of a seven-month old child that had succumbed to the Influenza virus.
Saluri argued in favor of informing the population more broadly, so that more people would actually stay at home and rest until they were well again, and the disease wouldn’t spread as much as it did currently. Latvia for example had a system in place where patients were paid insurance benefits starting from the first day they were ill. That way a larger part of the population would be motivated to stay away from work for that time.
In the last weeks of 2016 more than 6,000 people fell ill because of the epidemic, which kept spreading with an increase of 33% a week. Earlier experience shows that within a week the number of infected people can increase to 9,000 or 10,000, which according to the Health Board was a jump in numbers that hadn’t taken place yet this season.
The Health Board points out that the best way to avoid getting infected is to get vaccinated, and beyond that to pay special attention to personal hygiene.