It’s no joke. The flu is a serious illness that is more deadly than the common cold, and we in T&T need to take the best precautions as possible in order to survive. 24 deaths from the H1N1 Virus within two months are far too many to fathom, and the suspected cases are nearly 3,000 for the year so far. What’s really happening?

We must note that flu deaths are not uncommon, especially in the western hemisphere. In North America during the 2017/2018 winter season, more than 80,000 Americans died of the flu with 90 percent of them being people over 65, though 180 of them were children and teens.

The severity of the flu cannot be underestimated, and we here in T&T are without a winter, or harsh temperature changes, but the influenza virus and flu remains an issue that constantly needs to be dealt with.

And what the Ministry of Health has noticed is that the deaths from the flu this season came about after the victims were classified as being part of the high risk group of patients. This includes being over 65 years old, less than 5 years old, being diabetic, hypertensive, obese or smoked tobacco products.

The updated vaccine is available for persons to get at local health centers for free, and the Ministry has been urging the population to get this in their system as a line of defence, especially those noted in the high risk group.

And it has been happening, as almost 25,000 vaccines have already been administered for this flu season to locals. But there remains the challenge of persons exercising proper personal hygiene in order to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease.

We travel in maxis, taxis, buses and appear in crowded spaces on a daily basis, getting to school, to work or just doing our daily routines. It’s very important that each citizen takes their hygiene seriously so we can combat any premature deaths.

Get medical assistance as soon as you can, if you feel sick. Encourage others to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, sanitize hands as much as possible. This is a fight we need to tackle individually and together. Let’s keep those statistics down.