RCHK fights flu onslaught

With the flu season arriving, influenza has been spreading across the globe. It has spread to many areas, including China, the United States, and Hong Kong, though specifically moving in South-East Asia and Central America. Recently, the RCHK primary has been strongly affected by this, with multiple cases in different classes and year levels. Though this did not get to a level at which it needed to be reported, it was still quite severe with many students absent.

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In the past month, the flu has struck RCHK, with “cases in a number of classes” according to Joanne Ferrari, Vice-Principal of Primary. A range of students from a variety of classes and Year levels were reported having “high fevers” and being “generally unwell”.

Influenza is an infectious, respiratory disease that is transmitted through flu viruses; depending on the specific type, it may vary in severity, from mild to extreme. Mainly, there are three different types of influenza: A, B, and C; symptoms commonly involve coughing, fever, chills, and runny nose; they are more prominent in types A and B, while C is much milder in comparison. Presently, the most common subtype of influenza is the A virus, recorded as taking an astounding 88.4% of all flu types from October to November last year. Holders of the Type A virus mainly are affected by fever, sore throat, cough, headache, runny nose, muscle ache, and general fatigue. One recent victim, RCHK primary student from class 5TL, Jasmine Choy, confirmed this, saying, “I have such a headache and sore throat.”

Stress can play a major factor in flu cases. Louise Wood, the school nurse at RCHK, reports, “Not many people take enough rest, especially secondary who seem to feel almost constantly under pressure.” Stress can make your body struggle to recover quickly because your immune system is suppressed. “There appears to be a quick fix thought - going to a doctor, getting lots of different tablets and then going straight back to class/work,” Wood says.

However in reality, just letting yourself rest is much more effective, letting the immune system fully recover, and allowing victims to become stronger and healthier much more quickly. Additionally, limiting rest time and  therefore extending the sickness. can lead to more contamination, as this exposes others to the germs as well, which is a leading factor in the virulent spread of influenza.

Though influenza can be severe, with proper rest and medication, it can usually be healed quickly and easily. Recovery commonly occurs in approximately two to seven days, however, depending on the health of the patient, time periods may differ. Those with weaker immunity, such as elderly or infants may be harder to cure, requiring stronger medication and longer rest.

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There are also many vaccinations that help battle influenza and decrease the chances of contamination, in fact, 75,000 doses of Sanofi Pasteur flu vaccine were injected just in Hong Kong! Recently, the Department of Health introduced a programme for Seasonal Influenza Vaccination in all primary schools, RCHK being one of the schools that follows it. Forms were sent out to primary students suggesting two different vaccinations that would decrease the percentages of young children catching the flu, one targeting youth nine years and under, the other for older children. The response was very good, with around 75% of each class consenting.