Climate change is a major threat to human health; It affects all aspects of natural and human systems, including the physical environment, social and economic conditions, and the performance of health systems. As such, it is a threat multiplier that will undermine and reverse decades of health progress. As climates change, more frequent and extreme weather and climate events are seen, including storms, extreme cold, extreme heat, floods and droughts.
These weather and climate hazards affect health directly and indirectly, increasing deaths, non-communicable diseases, emergence and spread of communicable diseases and health emergencies. Cases of “severe seasonal flu”.
Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 3.6 billion people already live in areas most vulnerable to climate change, and from 2030 to 2050, climate change is expected to cause 250,000 additional deaths each year. By 2030, direct costs to health are estimated to be between 2 and 4 billion US dollars per year. Areas without strong health infrastructure – most of which are in developing countries – are less able to cope without help. From… for preparedness and response.
Seasonal influenza (flu) is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. It is common throughout the world and is easily spread between people when coughing or sneezing. Most people recover from it without treatment, and vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease. People of all ages can be affected by the disease, but certain groups are at greater risk than others, including:
People at risk for serious illness or complications from the flu: pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions (such as chronic heart, lung, kidney, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, liver, or blood) and individuals with immunosuppressive conditions (HIV V, chemotherapy or steroids or malignancy).
– Health care workers are at high risk of infection with influenza virus due to high exposure to disease and contact with patients and increased transmission of disease among particularly at-risk individuals. Vaccination can protect healthcare workers and the people around them.
New season recommendations
Dr. Muhammad al-Abd al-Ali, a spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Health, said that 80 percent of those hospitalized in intensive care due to seasonal flu since the beginning of the season had not received the vaccine.
Reports from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that the new influenza season (2023-2024) will be two different things:
The first: updating the composition of influenza vaccines for the 2023-2024 season with new recommendations, compared to the composition of the US flu vaccine for the 2022-2023 season. Updated influenza vaccines based on eggs or recombinant cells.
Second: People with egg allergies can get any vaccine (egg-based or egg-based) that is appropriate for their age and health. Previously, people with severe egg allergy (those with any symptoms other than allergy as a result of egg exposure) were referred for vaccination in inpatient or outpatient clinical settings. Beginning in the 2023-2024 season, additional protective measures for influenza vaccination are no longer recommended for people with egg allergy, beyond what was recommended for receiving any vaccine, regardless of the severity of a previous reaction to eggs. All vaccines should be given in settings where allergic reactions can be recognized and treated quickly.
There are 4 types of influenza virus: A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics.
• Influenza A viruses are also classified into subtypes according to groups of proteins found on the surface of the virus. A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) subtypes of influenza viruses are currently circulating in humans. The name of the A(H1N1) strain is also written in the following way: “A(H1N1)pdm09”, because it caused the pandemic in 2009 and replaced an earlier virus called A(H1N1) that circulated before 2009. Only influenza type A viruses are known to cause infection.
• Influenza B viruses are not classified into subtypes, but can be divided into strains. Type B influenza viruses belong to the B/Yamagata lineage or the B/Victoria lineage.
• Influenza type C virus is rarely detected, usually causes mild infections, and is therefore not of public health importance.
• Influenza T viruses primarily infect livestock and are not known to infect or cause disease in humans.
Flu symptoms usually begin two days after receiving the infection from someone infected with the virus. Symptoms include:
– Severe fever.
– Cough (usually dry), which may be severe and last two weeks or more.
– Headache, muscle and joint pain, and feeling very bad.
– Sore throat and runny nose.
Influenza can cause serious illness or death; Especially in those at high risk.
Influenza can exacerbate symptoms of other chronic illnesses. In severe cases, the fever can lead to pneumonia and sepsis. People with other medical problems or severe symptoms should seek medical treatment.
Hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza occur mainly among high-risk groups.
In industrialized countries, flu-related deaths are highest among people 65 years of age or older.
The effects of seasonal flu epidemics on developing countries are not fully known, but research estimates that developing countries account for 99 percent of deaths among children under the age of five with flu-related lower respiratory tract infections.
In terms of transmission, seasonal flu spreads easily and quickly in crowded places, including schools and nursing homes. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets containing viruses (infectious droplets) become airborne and can infect people in close proximity to the infected person. The virus is also spread through hands contaminated with influenza viruses.
To prevent spread, people should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough and wash their hands regularly. In temperate regions, seasonal influenza epidemics occur mainly in winter, while in tropical regions epidemics can occur throughout the year, resulting in less frequent outbreaks.
The period between acquiring the infection and the onset of illness is called the incubation period, which can last from two days but can range from one to four days.
Most cases of human influenza are diagnosed clinically. However, during periods of low influenza activity or outside epidemics, other respiratory viruses (such as SARS-CoV-2, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza viruses, and adenoviruses) can produce influenza-like illness. making clinical differentiation between influenza and other pathogens difficult.
To determine the final diagnosis, it is necessary to collect appropriate samples from the respiratory system and perform laboratory diagnostic tests. Proper collection, storage, and transport of respiratory specimens is an essential first step in the laboratory diagnosis of influenza virus infections. Laboratory confirmation is usually performed using direct antigen detection, virus isolation, or detection of influenza RNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.
Rapid diagnostic tests are used in clinical settings, but are less sensitive than reverse transcription-PCR-based methods, and their reliability largely depends on the circumstances in which they are used.
Most people recover from the flu on their own. People with severe symptoms or other medical conditions should seek medical treatment. People with mild symptoms should do the following:
– Staying at home to rest; Avoid hurting others.
– Drink enough fluids.
– Treating other symptoms such as fever.
– Seek medical attention when symptoms appear.
– People at high risk, or those with severe symptoms, should be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible. WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response Network (GISRS) monitors viral resistance among circulating influenza viruses to provide timely evidence for national policies on antiviral use.
First – The Advisory Committee on Influenza Immunization (ACIP) recommends vaccination for the following groups for the 2023-2024 season: pregnant women, children 6 months to 5 years of age, people over 65 years of age, and people with chronic medical conditions; and health workers.
Many inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines are available in injectable form. Live attenuated influenza vaccines are available as a nasal spray. The vaccine may be less effective in the elderly; But it can reduce illness, and reduce the chance of complications and death. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at risk of developing flu complications and for their caregivers.
Second: Other methods of prevention:
– Wash and dry hands frequently.
– Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
– Dispose of tissue properly.
– Stay home when sick.
– Avoid close contact with sick people.
– Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Third – The World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Global Influenza Program, the organization’s Global Surveillance and Response Network and other partners, continues to monitor influenza viruses and their activities globally, and recommends twice seasonal flu vaccines. A year in the middle and middle of the year for influenza seasons. It provides guidance on the mix of vaccines to be used in tropical and subtropical countries, supports decisions regarding the timing of vaccination campaigns and supports Member States in prevention and development of control strategies.
The organization works to strengthen influenza response capabilities at the national, regional and global levels, including disease diagnosis, antiviral susceptibility monitoring, disease surveillance and outbreak response. It works to increase vaccination coverage among high-risk groups and to support research and development into new treatments and other countermeasures.
* Community Medical Consultant