Temperatures have suddenly dropped a great deal recently. Winter is here of the 290,000 doses of 0.5 cc flu vaccine procured for Taichung City last year, 289,000 doses have been consumed, with an utilization rate of 99%, while of the 24000 doses of 0.25 cc flu vaccine, 23000 doses have been consumed so far, with an utilization rate of 96%. As the strains of influenza vaccine that we have used are highly consistent with the strains of influenza widely spread around the world, our vaccine has given out excellent protection. It is urged that senior citizens aged 65 or over,children aged six months to 12 years old, and people aged 50 to 64 with chronic diseases (such as type II diabetes, liver disease, heart attack, lung trouble, blood vessel disease and others) have the flu shots as soon as possible, as the vaccine is running out soon.
According to information released by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, the United States has had 47 states experiencing influenza activity. Based on the influenza epidemiological surveillance data, influenza activity normally begins to rise in Taiwan in December every year and reaches its peak in the Lunar New Year in the following year. So, it is possible that we have now entered into the influenza season but there have been so far only 279 flu complications cases reported nationwide (of which Taichung City had only six cases, all of which has recovered). Compared to the 977 cases (including 45 in Taichung City) of the same period last year, the flu activity is still at its low. Nevertheless, the emergency visit rates of influenza-like illness have been recently on the rise slightly. During the transition of seasons, you should pay more attention to your own health and carefully observe whether you have symptoms of the flu. If you have a fever lasting for several days, if you have headache or obvious muscle soreness, or if you feel tired, you should see a doctor and take a rest as soon as possible.
Huang Mei-Na (黃美娜), Director-general of Health Bureau of Taichung City Government, reminded again that people of all ages are liable to influenza infection, but the elderly, infants and people with chronic diseases are more likely to be infected and suffer from serious complications. She urged everyone to do 5 things to avoid influenza infection and prevent influenza from spreading:
1. To have a flu shot as soon as possible.
2. To watch out for symptoms of the flu.
3. To see a doctor as soon as possible if you have such dangerous signs as shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, cyanosis (hypoxia and/or lips turning purple or blue), bloody sputum, chest pain, an altered state of consciousness, low blood pressure, and a high fever lasting for 72 hours.
4. To take medication on time and get more rest when you are sick.
5. To wash hands with soap, wear a mask when coughing, and stay home and test when sick.