Via Arab News: Flu-hit patients swarm hospitals in Jeddah. Excerpt:
Arrival of pilgrims from different countries, together with changes in weather, has led to a 20-percent rise in seasonal flu cases, according to medical experts.
Several residents have been complaining of influenza symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, headache, stomach upsets and fever.
Hospital waiting areas are swamped with patients suffering from flu symptoms.
Teachers, health experts and workers have reported the increasing absence of students from school; and employees are reporting sick.
City doctors have advised residents to take precautions to avoid flu contract.
Hamida Mehmoud, a private school teacher, said “Besides increasing nonattendance in the past few weeks, several students couldn’t sit weekly exams. Kids often contract the flu from other children who are carrying the virus, so we have advised parents not to send children suffering from the flu to school.”
Soheila Yazeed, a receptionist at a private hospital, said “There has been a significant increase in the number of patients suffering from viral diseases over the past two to three weeks. The hospital has issued pamphlets containing precautionary methods to help control the spread of viral diseases.”
Dr. Imran Nazir, a general physician at a government hospital, examines 15-16 patients suffering from flu symptoms every day.
“The weather has been erratic since the beginning of the year and pilgrims have brought with them several infectious syndromes that cannot be contained,” he said. “Most local doctors recommend that residents drink plenty of fluids to avoid taking ill.”
He said many residents end up developing pneumonia.
“It is important to teach children basic safety measures, such as covering their mouth while coughing or sneezing and washing their hands regularly. These are basic hygiene standards that lessen the risk of infection,” he said.
While advising residents against self-medication, local doctors have also asked the residents to take flu shots.