Answered by: Dr Mohd Ramzdhan Bin Mohd Masdar
Updated on: June 4, 2020
Good afternoon doctor. Recently, our local news has been filled with influenza outbreaks causing the death of small children in Temerloh and Johor. I am a single father of two children, 3 and 6 years old respectively, I reach out to you as I am very concerned with this news as my 3-year-old son is having cough and slight fever. It has been going on for 3 days after we visited a pasar malam in Taman Connaught, so I’m afraid that he may have contracted the disease from sick people in that crowded situation. So doctor, can you please tell me how am I suppose to identify influenza and where can I get treatment?
Good afternoon sir and I totally understand how do you feel right now, as the death of the 1-year-old child has been instilling fear in Malaysians, so people are trying to find the best way to avoid contracting Influenza, even resorting to improper methods circulating on social media platforms! For your situation, the safest approach is to bring your child to the nearest clinic or hospital to get an influenza test as the influenza outbreak Kuala Lumpur is also quite worrying. I will further explain about influenza in the article below.
As the name suggests, the culprit that caused all this mess is known as the Influenza virus which can be divided into Type A, Type B and Type C. Influenza virus causes the condition called flu. Why is influenza seasonal? The most prominent characteristic of this virus is that it can modify genetically at a rapid rate, rendering our body immune system incapability to keep up with and kill these new strains. Thus, flu is known as a seasonal disease because outbreaks will happen from time to time especially in a tropical country like Malaysia.
Rumours have been circulating among us, claiming that influenza Malaysia 2020 is due to the “mysterious virus” from Wuhan, China. Ministry of Health Malaysia has already collected enough evidence to refute this false claim and advocate Malaysians to not spread fake rumours to add further chaos to this situation. Evidence has shown Influenza A is the culprit for this episode of outbreaks in Malaysia. This new decade has yet to seek for a good start, so fellow netizens, let’s not make the year any worse.
Regarding the sad news of child death in Temerloh and Johor, the authority has released post mortem report that only the 1-year-old boy’s death in Temerloh is due to Influenza A (the strain of H1N1) whereas the 7-year-old girl in Johor is tested negative for influenza, passed away due to kidney and liver failure. According to H1N1 Malaysia statistic, the last outbreak happened 11 years ago due to the flu pandemic across the world. Malaysia did a good job of controlling the disease and reducing the mortality rate. Hence, we should have faith in our ministry this time that they will make the right move to contain this outbreak!
The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, and everyone has to understand that the flu is different from the common cold. Common cold is caused by viruses other than Influenza and it is not serious. This simple table is able to help you understand the difference between Flu and Common Cold:
|Signs and Symptoms||Cold||Influenza|
|Fever||Rare||Usual, lasts 3-4 days|
|Aches||Slight||Usual, often severe|
|Chest discomfort||Mild to moderate||Common|
For a person who contracted flu, their current flu symptoms are as such:
Most of the adult that contracted flu will recover in a week or two as they have a healthy immune system to fight off the infection. However, high-risk individuals with a weak immune system such as children and old people are more prone to develop severe symptoms and even complications from flu. So to speak, people do not die from flu but it is the complications of flu that causes most of the death during the outbreak. Complications of flu are as such:
You can get treatment from any nearby clinics or hospitals as the medical professionals are highly trained and aware of the current situation. They will properly assess your child’s symptoms, look for the relevant signs and conduct proper testing to confirm their influenza status. There are some warning signs that you as a parent should be aware, as these signs indicate that you should obtain immediate medical care in the emergency department!
To prevent the contraction of the virus, the vaccine is the answer. In Malaysia, there are different types of Influenza vaccines available which target the common strains of Influenza A and B. These vaccines are not mandatory in the Malaysian vaccination schedule, so we need to pay for it in order to get ourselves protected.
To aid the shortage problem of vaccination in private clinics, government hospitals are providing the vaccination but only for high-risk individuals such as children less than 5 years old, elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying medical problems. As a parent, you should also quarantine your child at home so that he will not spread the virus or develop any further complications. Make sure that your child is constantly hydrated and maintain care for hygiene.
I hope that this can ease your worries and I wish nothing but the best to your child for a speedy recovery and good health. If you have further doubts or inquiries, do not hesitate to talk to us via forum, live chat, audio or video calls by visiting our website https://www.doctoroncall.com.my/.