Qatar's Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), launched a public awareness campaign to raise awareness about seasonal flu, respiratory syncytial virus ( RSV) and Covid-19.
According to Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, head of HMC's Department of Infectious Diseases, viral respiratory infections are very common at this time of year.
It is essential that people take action to reduce their risk of getting infected as temperatures drop and winter respiratory viruses circulate more widely in the community."
Despite the fact that anyone can catch influenza, RSV, or Covid-19, certain groups are at a greater risk of developing more severe symptoms. "This group includes people over 50, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and children, especially those under five," said Dr Al Khal.
In addition to fever, cough, sore throat, nasal discharge, body aches, headaches, and occasional shortness of breath, flu, RSV, and Covid-19 can all cause similar symptoms.
In order to reduce the risk of infecting others, anyone experiencing these symptoms should stay at home. Individuals suffering from severe symptoms should seek medical attention at their nearest primary health center.
Dr Hamad Al Romaihi, Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at MOPH, said people could protect themselves from these common respiratory infections by taking a few simple steps.
"Flu, RSV, and Covid-19 all spread similarly, so it's important to adhere to basic infection prevention and control measures to protect yourself and others. Avoiding contact with people who are coughing or sneezing, washing your hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and disposing of used tissues properly after use."
It is also important to get vaccinated against flu and Covid-19 every year. School children with symptoms of respiratory infections should avoid going to school while they’ve active symptoms to protect their classmates from the infection.”
Vaccines for flu and Covid-19 are safe, effective, and supported by extensive research studies, said Dr Al Romaihi. He encouraged high-risk individuals to get vaccinated.
Qatari residents were given free influenza and Covid-19 vaccines by PHCC's Manager of Health Protection at the Preventive Health Directorate, Dr Khalid Hamid Elawad.
Over 90 healthcare facilities in Qatar offer influenza vaccines, including 31 PHCC health centres, outpatient clinics at HMC hospitals, and more than 45 semi-governmental and private hospitals and clinics. “All 31 of PHCC's health centers offer Covid-19 vaccines,” he said.