Vaccination against ebola virus in Kirembo village

The National Department of Health urged South Africans to be careful, especially when flu season is about to hit in winter.

The department noted that a virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is spreading across the country and the flu is also spreading more. Hence, the guidelines requested everyone in the country to protect themselves by taking free vaccines available in public clinics.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), responsible for monitoring the circulation of respiratory viruses throughout the country, informed the health department that currently it is the peak season for RSV, which has similar symptoms to COVID-19.

"Influenza virus season usually follows RSV, and we are starting to see an increase in cases," the department said, SA News reported.

It added, "While most diseases caused by influenza, RSV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses are mild, they may cause severe illness and even death amongst the citizens around the country, particularly in individuals with conditions placing them at high risk of severe disease."

The flu season is about to begin soon and the health department suggested that people should get vaccinated to prevent severe health complications, especially people who are above the age of 65 and those with underlying illnesses such as heart and lung disease, people living with HIV and tuberculosis alongside pregnant women.

The flu virus mostly spreads through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Due to this, one might get other respiratory viruses at the same time. Hence, the department urged to keep the nose and mouth covered whenever someone is sick.

The department also advised people to not touch unwashed hands on face and to avoid getting too close to others. Even actions like shaking hands, kissing and sharing cups must be avoided.

"Parents and caregivers are urged to take their children who experience difficulties with breathing, not drinking enough fluids and experience deteriorating symptoms to the nearest health facility or healthcare provider for medical attention without delay," the statement mentioned.

Individuals who got infected are supposed to maintain social distancing, as per the health department.