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Worst flu kills hundreds in Australia

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2017

Hospitals across Australia, particularly in the hardest hit state of New South Wales, have been busy this winter and spring, as the number of flu cases has increased by more than 150 percent year on year.

Health officials are blaming it on a mutant strain of influenza, which is thought to be responsible for more than 370 deaths, and sickened more than 160,000 others so far, even though it was included in this year’s flu vaccine.

They estimated that up to 85 percent of the people that received a flu shot this year is still contracted with the disease.

Researchers said one possible reason is that this strain continued to mutate after the vaccine was developed.

While the elderly and young children are usually at risk, other age groups, including relatively healthy people, are also in danger.

Health officials fear the number of cases is much higher because of a delay in reporting. — Reuters

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Indonesia seizes 210 tonnes of Australian trash, plans to send it back

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

A Customs officer showing trash from Australia in containers | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

REUTERS – Indonesia said on Tuesday (July 9) that it was planning to send back 210 tonnes of trash to Australia, in its latest attempt to push back waste imported from Western countries.

The eight containers seized at Tanjung Perak port in Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, contain plastic bottles, used baby diapers and electronic products, East Java province Customs said in a press release.

Chief of the port’s customs told Reuters three companies were involved in the shipment and were responsible to re-export after an investigation.

This is the second time in less than a month that Indonesia re-exported contaminated waste. Last month, Indonesia sent a consignment of Canadian paper waste back from the same port.

Indonesia and its neighbouring Southeast Asian countries Malaysia and Philippines have been sending back trash amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tonnes of waste each year.

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DOH: Vaccinate ahead of flu season

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Vaccination (Ina Fassbender / Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines – Influenza is among the rainy-day diseases that highly threatens people’s health around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Unlike the common cough and colds, influenza or ‘flu’ is most of the time accompanied by muscle pains and fever that lasts for several days.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), a new strain of flu virus develops every year that’s why it is important to also develop an appropriate vaccine.

Likewise, a yearly vaccination against flu is highly necessary to prevent it.

“Iyong advice natin sa ating mga kababayan, iyong mga kailangan mabakunahan, pabakunahan pa habang maaga para protektado sila lalo na kapag time na madami nang flu, (We advise the public to vaccinate especially those who need the vaccine to keep protected during flu season,)” explained Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

The DOH noted that flu season usually begins from September and lasts until February.

The agency emphasized, however, that it prioritizes children and senior citizens in its vaccination programs.

Domingo said a new strain of flu virus has been discovered this year in the country though it is weaker as compared to a strong flu virus recorded in 2017.

In fact, the mortality rate and complication rate brought about by the current flu virus remains low.

Still, the DOH advised the public to undergo a regular health checkup because flu infection might lead to complications that can become fatal.

Parents are advised to complete their children’s flu vaccination shots and avail them for free in hospitals and barangay health stations.

“Ang number 1 pa rin natin kasi kung magkakaroon ng complication sa flu iyong mayroong mahihina ang katawan, meaning iyong mga batang- bata at tiyak iyong matatanda, (Our number one concern is the complications of flu in patients with weak immune system, meaning the children and the elderly),” Domingo said.

The health official also recommends a healthy diet to boost the immune system and have a regular take of vitamin C, orange juice, and six to eight glasses of water every day.

If possible, sleep for up to eight hours and exercise regularly.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

It will also help to wear face masks especially when going in crowded places or when travelling so as not to contract the flu virus. – with details from Aiko Miguel

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Ways to stay healthy this wet season

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Filipinos wade in a flooded street during a downpour in Quezon City, Philippines. (Ritchie Tongo/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – Rainy season has officially started in the country.

But apart from preparing and bringing umbrella, coats, boots and other rain gears, the public is urged anew to take simple health precautions to ward off diseases common at this time of the year.

Among the common illnesses during wet season are influenza, dengue fever and leptospirosis.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious and year-round disease but usually peaks during the rainy season.

To prevent coming down with the flu, health authorities are encouraging the public to get a vaccine against the virus and to boost the immune system by having a healthy diet.

Frequent and proper handwashing can also be one’s defense against the flu virus.

During rainy season, a spike in the number of leptospirosis cases is also observed. Humans may contract leptospirosis through skin abrasions and the mucus of the nose, mouth and eyes when wading in flood waters contaminated with animal urine, particularly from rats.

To avoid getting leptospirosis, one should wear boots or cover open wounds or broken skin if wading through floodwaters is inevitable.

The public is also reminded to take precautions against dengue fever which usually peaks during the wet season.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.

To prevent contracting dengue virus, the public is urged to take these safety precautions, including searching for and destroying the breeding sites of dengue-carrying mosquitoes, wearing long sleeved shirts, using insect repellants and seeking early medical attention for fevers.

Health authorities also strongly advises the public against self-medication, especially when dealing with antibiotic medicines, as it can lead to antimicrobial resistance.

The World Health Organization defines anti-microbial resistance as the ability of a microorganism to stop an anti-microbial medication from working against it.

The DOH advises the public to immediately seek proper medical advice if they are experiencing symptoms of any diseases. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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