Zimbabwe News

Zimbabwe records an increase in flu-like illnesses

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is investigating an increase in flu-like illnesses across the country to determine whether it might be the outbreak of a new virus.

Last week, the Ministry of Health reported an increase in influenza cases to more than 87,000 since the beginning of January this year.

Speaking to The Herald, Ministry of Health and Child Care Secretary Aspect Maunganidze said:

We have indeed noticed through our surveillance, in terms of diseases in the country, that there has been an increase in flu-like illnesses. We have not confirmed that it’s a new virus yet.

This is expected in the season that we are going (into), but we have also noticed in the region, in particular Botswana, where they have also recorded a high incidence of influenza-like illnesses.

People need to practise strong hygiene, especially hand hygiene. Avoid touching your face, or your nostrils, because the virus is found even on surfaces and in the air from droplets that people will be coughing or sneezing. So once you touch them and you also touch your face, you increase the chances of getting the flu.

In addition, you need to wash your hands where you can. You can wear your mask, especially if you have started to have flu-like symptoms and you want to avoid passing it on to others.

Maunganidze urged members of the public to adhere to healthy lifestyles and eat vitamin C-rich foods to avoid falling ill.

Vitamin C-rich foods include oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, guava, papaya, and broccoli, among others.

He also warned against self-medicating and unnecessarily taking antibiotics, unless prescribed by a health professional. Said Maunganidze:

There is generally no need to be taking antibiotics unless prescribed by the doctor. So we need to avoid abuse of these antibiotics as this also increases the chances of antimicrobial resistance.

In general, we need to keep ourselves alert and if symptoms of flu are not settling or they are worsening after 10 to 14 days, with additional chest symptoms and coughing of blood and other symptoms, then you need to make sure you are checked by a doctor.

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