Hongkongers have to be ready for the upcoming winter flu season which might come around next month. And it is likely to last until March.
Seasonal influenza can be a serious illness, so it is very important to focus on personal hygiene during this period. This is especially true for students. When students fall ill, infections can spread through schools rapidly which could lead to their closure.
A student might fall sick after touching a surface on the MTR that a flu sufferer might have touched. We face the same problem in buses and taxis as well as shopping malls and other public places. This is why washing hands regularly is very important.
Ideally we should all wear a face mask when we have influenza or when we visit crowded places. It helps to prevent the spread of the flu virus. If you are not wearing a mask, you should cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing because flu viruses can travel through the air and infect others.
We should also lead a healthy lifestyle. We should exercise, have a balanced diet, and sleep well.
I sincerely hope that everyone will have a healthy Christmas and Lunar New Year.
Abbie Li, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College
From the Editor
Thanks for your well-timed letter, Abbie.
I agree that we should take preventive measures against the flu, which can be deadly. It is present in Hong Kong all year round, but is more prevalent during February, March, July and August. Over the past two years, hundreds of mostly elderly people died from the disease.
All the things we learned to do during the Sars outbreak – like regular hand washing – are worth remembering.
You should wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet. Many students in Hong Kong don’t know how to wash their hands properly. Using soap is a must and you should wash your hands for at least 30 seconds.
As you say, if you eat healthily and are well rested, then your immune system will be strong and you will be less likely to get sick. Eating a balanced diet ensures we get the vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
You should be getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night. And make sure that you include fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet every day.
But if you do end up getting sick, go to see the doctor as soon as possible.
By taking these steps, you can join the fight against flu.
M. J. Premaratne, Sub-editor