Flu epidemic may last another week

PHOTO: Flu epidemic may last another week

SINGAPORE - A flu epidemic has been spreading across Singapore since late last month, and doctors say it is likely to last at least another week.

The Straits Times reported that the 18 polyclinics here saw 17,299 patients with acute respiratory infection last week. This is above the epidemic threshold of 17,119 polyclinic cases a week.

As polyclinics treat about a fifth of the patients in Singapore, this indicates that the virus is spreading across the country.

ST reported that the number first crossed the warning level - 15,157 polyclinic cases a week - on the second week of this year, and topped the epidemic level in the last week of last month.

Earlier this month, a Primary 4 class in Marymount Convent School had 20 pupils absent due to the flu, ST said.

Dr Siaw Tung Yeng, who runs a clinic in Choa Chu Kang, said the flu season - the month of January when people return from holidays in winter countries - appears to be dragging on longer than usual.

Dr Pauline Neow, who works in a clinic in Queenstown, said she observed that young adults in particular are taking longer to recover from the flu.

The flu presents itself through runny noses, sore throats, bad cough, general aches and fever, said Dr Theresa Yap, who runs a clinic in Bedok.

She advised those who are down with the flu to take plenty of fluids and rest. In addition, they should cover their mouths when they cough to prevent the spread the germs, she cautioned.