Influenza in Malaysia - What MOH Wants You to Know

(Translated and adopted by the editorial team of Caring Pharmacy)1

The Director-General of Health issued a press article on 4th January 2020 to inform the public of the on-going management of influenza cases, especially among children in Malaysia. We at Caring Pharmacy have summarised the information into 4 categories.

#1. OMG Influenza! – What’s Going On In Malaysia? 

  • It is observed throughout the country that there is a rising trend of clinic consultations of cases related to influenza-like illness (ILI) and hospital admissions related to severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).
  • There has been an increase in ILI and SARI cases since mid-December 2019.
  • However, the recorded increase is still within the normal range and the trend is similar to previous years.
  • Meanwhile, the influenza viruses detected from did not show any sign of a mutation leading to the emergence of a new influenza virus

#2. How should caregivers care for patients with influenza?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised taking the following steps to manage patients especially, children age 5 or below:

  • If one develops a fever, use an appropriate dose of paracetamol and apply a wet towel on body parts such as the head, legs and body.
  • Avoid the use of Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce fever as there is clinical evidence indicating that its use can increase the risk of influenza virus-associated encephalopathy
  • Maintain adequate hydration
  • See a doctor immediately if the fever does not subside or if one develops influenza symptoms such as sore throat, cough, headache, muscle aches, joint pain and fatigue.

#3. How do I protect myself from Influenza?

MOH also reminds the public to take the following precautionary measures: 

  • Maintain a high level of personal hygiene
  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap or hand sanitizer
  • Practice good etiquette if you cough or sneeze
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle 
  • The general public and those in high-risk groups, in particular, are encouraged to obtain a seasonal influenza vaccine.

#4. I might have flu-like symptoms, what should I do?

For those with symptoms of influenza, it is advisable to do the following:

  • Stay indoors and do not go to crowded places
  • Go outdoors only if necessary, but if you need to go outdoors, wear a face mask so that you will not infect others
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, towel or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing.
  • The used tissue should be discarded immediately
  • Avoid sharing personal towels or handkerchiefs with others
  • Consult your doctor immediately for further treatment should your influenza symptoms worsen

Reference:

  1. [Press] Kenyataan Akhbar KPK 4 Januari 2020 – Makluman Mengenai Pengurusan Pesakit yang Disyaki Mengalami Jangkitan Influenza Terutamanya di Kalangan Kanak-Kanak di Malaysia. (Web accessed January 2020) Web link: https://kpkesihatan.com/2020/01/04/kenyataan-akhbar-kpk-4-januari-2020-makluman-mengenai-pengurusan-pesakit-yang-disyaki-mengalami-jangkitan-influenza-terutamanya-di-kalangan-kanak-kanak-di-malaysia/