The fourth death from the Wuhan flu or Wuhan pneumonia has been reported. For any expats who were in Hong Kong during the SARS era, this may be somewhat unnerving news. Still, while it’s a serious news story, there’s no need to panic.
What is the Wuhan flu or Wuhan pneumonia?
Wuhan is a city in China and the location where the first cases of this virus have been reported. Hence the name, Wuhan flu or Wuhan pneumonia. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had linked the virus to a single seafood market in Wuhan, which has since been closed.
The WHO earlier reported that no human-to-human transmission cases have been recorded. However, other cases have since been reported in Thailand, South Korea and Japan, and these patients do not have links to the original market. While there have been over 50 suspected cases in Hong Kong, originally these were reported not to be caused by human-to-human transmission.
On Monday 20 January, it was reported that cases in Guangdong and Wuhan are the result of human-to-human transmission.
China’s scientists recently revealed this virus is caused by a new strain that comes from the SARS family. SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome, and it caused a health crisis in Hong Kong from 2002 to 2004. There were almost 300 deaths in the city and it had a significant impact on the economy. This is why the discovery that the Wuhan flu is part of the SARS family has been such big news.
What are the symptoms?
The WHO states that symptoms are fever and difficulty breathing.
What actions should we take to protect ourselves?
Authorities are monitoring the situation, and the WHO is set to give an update during the week of 20 to 25 January, hopefully with advice about prevention and protection.
In the meantime, naturopath JO HERBERT-DOYLE from Central & Stanley Wellness has this advice:
When it comes to flu season, Jo says the best way to reduce the likelihood of becoming unwell is to optimise whole body wellbeing. This means keeping the whole body well as the foundation of good immune health. Her tips are:
- Eat Well. According to Jo, eating lots of colourful whole foods provides patients with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – many of which act as antioxidants therefore helping support optimal immune function rather than depleting it. Aim for three handfuls of salad or colourful veg at each main meal, plus two serves of fresh fruit each day.
- Keep your gut healthy. “Don’t ignore any gut symptoms you may experience (for example, bloating or irregular bowel habits) as these are not only abnormal but likely depleting both your immunity and energy levels, as well as creating inflammation in your body,” says Jo.
- Improve stress resilience. “When the stress hormone cortisol goes up, your innate immune function becomes suppressed leaving you more vulnerable to infections like the flu,” says Jo.
- Get enough sleep. Insufficient or unrestorative sleep is one of the biggest stressors impacting the long-term health (and immune systems) of busy people.
Of course, we can all be prepared for flu season by getting this year’s flu shot and practicing good hygiene. This includes frequent and thorough hand washing.
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