Physician warns against increase in respiratory, gastro-illnesses

CNMI territorial epidemiologist Dr. Paul White expects an increase in respiratory and gastro-illnesses as the season becomes colder.

“We can expect to see increases in respiratory illnesses — coughs, runny nose, sore throats as well as the more serious influenza, and gastro-illnesses such as tummy bugs, diarrhea, vomiting. This is to be expected,” he said.

Dr. White advises the public to protect themselves and their families by getting an annual flu shot. “This can protect you against influenza. Even if you get influenza, having had the shot will likely be much less of a problem. The flu vaccine is safe and well tolerated by most folks.”

He also emphasized the importance of hand hygiene. “This is the number one thing we can do to protect ourselves from many bugs but especially the ones that give us diarrhea and vomiting.”

He advised people to make sure that their hands are clean before preparing food and before eating, after changing diapers or after coming in from outdoors. “We get the germs that make us sick on our hands and our hands end up touching our face, our eyes, going into our mouths. This is how these germs get into us. Good old-fashioned handwashing with soap and water will greatly help us reduce the chances of getting these bugs or passing them on.”

 Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s public information officer Samantha Birmingham-Babauta said members of the Medical Reserve Corps will visit the shelters and homes to educate people about hand hygiene.

For more information about the flu shot, people may visit, and for hand hygiene go to:

Source: Marianas Variety :

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