The Albanian government is calling on people to take precautions and get vaccinated against influenza following high numbers of people being affected.
Silva Bino, the Head of the Department of Infections Diseases at the Institute of Public Health said in a Facebook post that the influenza virus is circulating and that citizens should take necessary precautions.
These include getting the vaccination, washing hands, cleaning surfaces, avoiding crowded and air-conditioned inside spaces, and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing.
“The flu virus is in circulation. Who has not been vaccinated should do so quickly. We should also take all the usual hygiene measures, such as frequent hand washing, frequent cleaning of surfaces using detergent, ventilation of indoor spaces when crowded, sneeze using the elbow socket as protection, not touching eyes, nose and mouth, and avoiding crowded spaces with too many people” she advised.
Influenza, not to be confused with other, minor respiratory illnesses and the common cold, kills as many as 646,000 people globally each year, even in countries with high levels of medical care. Those most at risk of death include babies and children, the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, and the immunocompromised.
The vaccine is advised for everyone to avoid the transmission and spread to those that are particularly vulnerable.
The influenza vaccine is available at health centres and hospitals or can be purchased for around 1600 ALL from pharmacies. While it does not offer 100% protection from influenza, if you were to contract the flu after vaccinating, your symptoms would be less severe and the risk of death would be significantly less. Most people take the vaccine with minimal side effects but some report cold symptoms, tiredness, and a sore arm, all of which pass in a few hours or 1-2 days.