Inside a hospital’s emergency room recently, kids and teenagers were desperately weak, weary and sick; one was experiencing uncontrollable shivering, pale as a ghost; another was wailing out his discomfort. ER doctors and nurses weren’t frantic but you could tell they weren’t at ease about the situation either.
Patients are swarming the ER like flies after all. It is the flu season but it isn’t just the usual seasonal flu, a doctor explained to me.
Apparently, says the good doctor, three years of staying at home during the pandemic has left some flu viruses just lurking out there with no host. It also, ironically, weakened our immune system against all sorts of viruses. Thus, when restrictions eased and everyone could go out already, the flu virus had its revenge of sorts.
This virus has resulted in an influenza-like illness and more than 150,000 cases have been recorded nationwide, the Department of Health (DOH) reported recently.
Symptoms include fever, shivering, chills, dry cough, loss of appetite, body aches and nausea, sneezing typically in connection with a sudden onset of illness.
This is what the DOH said based on a Nov. 4 report in The STAR:
Based on the latest Disease Surveillance Report of the DOH, there were 158,307 cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) reported from Jan. 1 to Oct. 14, 2023. The number is 46 percent higher than the 108,065 ILI cases reported during the same period last year.
The top three regions with recorded cases of ILI are Davao Region with 23,665; Northern Mindanao with 20,842 and Central Visayas with 20,160.
The regions that recorded the highest increase in cases when compared to last year are Zamboanga Peninsula (311 percent; 1,853 to 7,622), Central Visayas (95 percent; 10,323 to 20,160) and National Capital Region (83 percent; 4,914 to 8,991).
Data from the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau showed a decrease in deaths caused by ILI from 415 in 2022 to 222 this year.
The regions with the most number of deaths are Davao Region (69), Central Visayas (43) and Caraga with 33 deaths.
The DOH earlier warned the public of illnesses common during the holiday season such as influenza.
Even the United States and perhaps other countries are