by: Ronaldo V. Mendoza, MD, MBA - Medical Director
The common colds or FLU is characterized by generalized body pain, headache with nasal congestion and sore throat. This is commonly observed during the FLU season or the 4th quarter of the year starting October up to December reaching back towards January up to March of the following year. The most common viral strain causing FLU is the Influenza H3N2 virus. Everyone is equally at risk for contracting the virus. The most common complication related to FLU includes Pneumonia which can be fatal if poorly treated and can pose a serious problem for high risk individuals like those in the younger/older age group, pregnant and nursing mothers and anyone with chronic medical illnesses.
Pneumonia ranks among the top illnesses for 2016 according to the data of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Department of Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone 6 months of age and older get a Flu shot.
Flu vaccination can therefore be an effective preventive step to protect the general population from the potentially serious complication of Influenza with a 40 to 60 percent success rate. The timing of administration is crucial and experts are recommending the administration of vaccine several weeks before the onset of the Flu Season. This will enable the development of antibodies for maximum protection. Here in the Philippines, Flu Vaccination starts on the first quarter of the year and extends up to the 3rd quarter.
One of the provisions of RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens act of 2010 is for the Department Of Health to administer free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal diseases for indigent senior citizens. The DOH in coordination with local government units (LGUs), NGOs and POs for senior citizens shall institute a national health program and shall provide an integrated health service for senior citizens. It shall train community – based health workers among senior citizens health personnel to specialize in the geriatric care and health problems of senior citizens.