|Suspected flu patients are on the rise. Hankook Ilbo file|
By Lee Min-young
An increase in suspected influenza patients suggests a rough flu season ahead.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday, the number of suspected flu patients was 19 out of 1,000 sampled between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, the highest figure since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
The figure has tripled from three weeks ago, signifying the flu virus is spreading at an alarming rate. Earlier last month, the government issued a nationwide influenza warning.
A typical influenza is characterized by a mixture of Type A and Type B strains, symptoms of which include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headaches and runny nose. It takes about four days for most young and healthy people to fully recover, but the flu can be fatal to those with weaker immune systems such as infants and the elderly.
Experts say it is best to get flu shots, but once you catch the flu virus, you should stay indoors and avoid crowded places. To prevent the flu virus from spreading, patients should wear a mask and take particular heed of personal hygiene.