RIYADH — The Ministry of Health (MoH) issued a new alert to take utmost care against seasonal influenza in light of a surge in the number of cases in the country.

Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali, spokesman of the ministry, said that an increase in influenza cases was observed during the current season.

He said that its spread is stronger than the reported cases in the past two years and there are many people admitted into intensive care units and the flu may lead to deaths.

Dr. Abdel Ali said that the seasonal influenza vaccine protects 80 percent of those who suffer from severe symptoms.

“The most important way to confront the activity of the influenza virus is to take the influenza vaccine, apart from wearing a mask.”

He urged the public not to be exposed to direct rain and cold waves.

It is noteworthy that the MoH had recently launched an awareness campaign to vaccinate against seasonal influenza under the slogan “The moment you wish for.”

The campaign is targeting the most vulnerable segments of society such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people with immunodeficiency, and pregnant women, in addition to health sector workers, and the public.

It stressed that vaccination is safe and has no side effects, and it has proven its efficacy for many years in all countries of the world.

The ministry stated that seasonal influenza causes many complications, the most serious of which are pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infection, blood poisoning and death.

It noted that symptoms of seasonal influenza include shivering, sweating, high temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, persistent cough, dehydration and a runny nose.

The ministry indicated that the prevention of influenza lies in taking the vaccine, avoiding crowded places, washing hands properly, avoiding direct eye and mouth contact, using tissues when sneezing or coughing, and ensuring the cleanliness of the place.

Through this campaign, the ministry seeks to increase the number of vaccinated persons, and reduce the rate of infected people and the number of hospitalized patients.

It called on the citizens and expatriates to take the seasonal influenza vaccination.

For this, they have to book through the ministry’s Sehhaty application in the seasonal influenza vaccine service, the ministry said while pointing out that vaccination prevents infection of this disease by a rate ranging between 70 and 90 percent.

It is noteworthy that these awareness activities come as a continuation of the efforts made by the ministry to preserve the health and safety of all members of society, as well as to enhance health awareness, and to urge the adoption of sound behaviors.

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