The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that as the peak season of influenza approaches, people should see a doctor as soon as possible if they experience three symptoms: continuous fever, physical aches and fatigue.
The influenza peak season occurs at about Christmas every year, the CDC said, adding that an average of between 100 and 200 deaths related to influenza are reported each year.
Huang Cheng-hua (黃政華), vice-superintendent of the Cathay General Hospital and supervisor at the Taiwan Society of Internal Medicine, said that even though influenza shares some symptoms with the common cold, such as coughing, a runny nose and a sore throat, it is more serious than a cold and has a higher death rate from complications.
CDC Director-General Chang Feng-yee (張峰義) said influenza patients usually recover after taking medicine prescribed by a doctor and sufficient rest, but should see a doctor immediately if other high-risk symptoms occur such as shortness of breath, coughing up blood or thick sputum, running a high fever for three days or drowsiness.
Department of Health Deputy Minister Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延), who is a pediatrician, said parents should seek medical attention if they observe decreased energy levels in their children or a lack of consciousness.
The CDC suggested five steps to help prevent the spread of influenza — get an influenza injection; be on the alert for symptoms; get immediate treatment when symptoms occur; take medicine and rest as prescribed; keep good personal hygiene by washing hands with soap or wearing a mask when coughing; and resting when ill.