Vietnam Time

11/29/2017 10:19:46 PM

Seasonal diseases pick up with winter: Doctors

The first cold spell of winter in the northern region has brought with it an increase in sicknesses like measles, mumps, flu and chicken pox, local reports say.

In recent days, the number of patients seeking hospital treatment for such diseases has gone up. While these are not serious health hazards in most cases, not abiding by the doctors’ advice and instructions can lead to complications.

At one of the largest hospitals in the country, the Bạch Mai Hospital in Hanoi, a 35-year-old woman from Nam Từ Liêm District, was seen last week with fever, headache and swelling of the parotid gland (between the ear and the jaw) that she’d been suffering for a week.

However, as is a common practice in Vietnam, assuming that her symptoms were nothing to worry about, she chose to self-medicate with antibiotics. She only visited the hospital after five days, when the medicines proved futile and she started vomiting and getting splitting headaches.

The hospital inspected her cerebrospinal fluid and concluded that the patient was suffering from viral meningitis. Previously, her five-year-old child and her husband had both caught mumps.

The first cold spell of winter in the northern region has brought with it an increase in sicknesses like measles, mumps, flu and chicken pox, local reports say. (Photo: baongheaan.vn)

Dr. Đỗ Duy Cường said that the general population still thinks that measles are a “children’s disease”.

He said: “It’s true that those children who have not been given immunisation shots are at elevated risk, but any adult who has not been vaccinated remains just as vulnerable.”

Even though under most circumstances, measles or mumps are ‘mild contagious illnesses,’ failure to get professional treatment and ensure proper care can turn out to be quite dangerous, Cường warned, adding that anyone who has doubts about his or her symptoms should immediately go to the hospital.

According to the municipal health department, in recent weeks, the city has recorded another nine cases of rashes breaking out, of which three have tested positive for measles. Since the beginning of this year, the number of measles cases seen is 66 (including one death), an increase of 64 cases over last year. The number of cases reported in October alone accounted for 46 per cent of the year’s total figure.

Nguyễn Nhật Cầm, head of the health department, said the speed at which measles spreads is considered to be faster than dengue fever, which saw its worst outbreak since 2014 a few months ago.

The cold weather with the likelihood of rains makes for “ideal conditions” for the disease to flare up, he added. One or more measles’ complications occur in 30 per cent of child patients, usually including pneumonia, ear infection, diarrhea, keratitis or encephalitis.

He said parents should watch carefully for unusual signs post-measles, especially if the child has fever after the rash has gone.

Cầm also said that the most effective prevention method is vaccination. However, there are 30,000 children in the capital city who have not been given immunisation shots, and they are a potential time bomb, ticking towards another measles outbreak.

The health department has asked schools to publicise information on measles patients who are their students or staff, and to carry out preventive hygiene works.

The department forbids any “cover up attempts,” Cầm said, adding that public health agencies are also tasked with reviewing the list of unvaccinated children under their jurisdiction and urging their parents to follow the regular immunisation schedule./.

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