Anti-Flu Measures for Chuseok Holiday
By Bae Ji-sook
The Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, holiday is just around the corner, taking place from Friday to Sunday, and many will once again take to the road to see family members, catch up on life and share smiles.
However, due to the influenza A (H1N1) virus sweeping the nation, some fear that the holiday could turn into an occasion for mass infection.
Dr. Chung Doo-ryeon of Samsung Medical Center says the virus is likely to spread faster during the holiday season because the temperature gap between morning and evening is wider.
``The immune system is weakened and you get cooped up in a closed space for quite a long time, giving the virus enough of a chance for transmission,'' he said.
``The virus could be delivered to people within 2 meters of an infected person through the nose, eyes or mouth. Also, door knobs, elevator buttons and many other facilities in public places or transportation could be contaminated. You should watch out.''
Covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing is recommended and carrying sanitizing agents when going out is also a good way to prevent the infection, he said.
``If you have high fever over 37.6 degrees Celsius, and suffer from a runny nose, severe coughing and sore throat, you should visit the nearest clinic for an examination, where you will be prescribed with an antiviral drug. Also, try to wear masks when you go outdoors,'' Chung said.
The Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs has set up an emergency treatment system for the holidays.
A total of 452 general and local hospitals as well as clinics nationwide have been designated by the government to focus on the flu treatment around-the-clock.
In addition, the toll-free number 1339 will provide a 24-hour consulting service to those who suspect they have contracted H1N1.
For a list of hospitals and more information about the emergency medical system, call 02-2262-4703 or visit www.mw.go.kr.