UAE: Two weeks is average recovery time for residents this flu season, say doctors

Healthcare professionals urge people to drink plenty of fluids, ensure good nutrition, and rest properly to recover faster


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 25 Nov 2022, 4:23 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Nov 2022, 2:38 PM

Doctors in the UAE are witnessing longer periods of recovery for residents contracting viral infections during this flu season. In some cases, it may even take up to two week to get complete relief from illnesses are caused by influenza A, B and rhino viruses.

Dr Sara George, Family Medicine Practitioner, Burjeel MHPC, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi says, “The viral strain this year has been pretty strong, thus causing a more prolonged recovery. This is also causing cough and tiredness to last in patients for a prolonged time.

“After a person contracts a viral illness, two weeks is the average time taken for a full recovery. It is normal to feel weak and tired while your body recovers from the infection. People should try to get flu vaccinations by the end of October. It’s best to be vaccinated before the flu spreads in your community."

“Largely, people are experiencing high-grade, sore throat, running nose, cough, headache, body aches and fatigue. In our experience, we are seeing that affected patients generally recover in a week’s time from fever and other symptoms. But the cough persists for a week or two before it subsides. For some, it takes up to four weeks,” says Dr Bhavinkumar Ganatra, Specialist Internal Medicine, Aster Hospital, Sharjah.

Doctors advice people to drink plenty of fluids, ensure good nutrition, and rest properly to boost recovery.

Explaining the course of the treatment he adds, “Generally, we start with symptomatic cough medicine and syrups. If conditions do not improve, we give a nebuliser, which helps 70-80 per cent of patients. In severe cases, we try low-dose oral steroids also. Steam inhalation is one remedy that people can try at home to improve the condition.”

Medics advise affected patients to avoid consuming cold items and direct exposure to the air condition as it may help to reduce cough.

Dr Mitchelle Lolly Specialist Pulmonologist with Prime Hospital Al Garhoud Airport road Dubai says,

“It is not very clear that why people are taking more time to recover... possible hypothesis could be that the virus is more virulent. The second hypothesis could be as follows... initially presence of mask decreased our exposure to common viruses and hence reduced immunity. Hence an exposure to the virus which seemed new by our body produced more inflammation and more symptoms. Third, it could be due to presence of secondary bacterial infections which is common after viral Infections.”

Lolly adds, “I feel that the viral infections are causing bronchitis which is an inflammation of the airways due to the virus. It is most commonly seen in respiratory syncytial virus. The other commonly encountered reasons are secondary bacterial infections like sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia which are leading to prolonged symptoms.”

MoHAP reiterates flu vaccine is updated annually

Meanwhile, in a statement issued to Khaleej Times, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) says, “With the onset of the winter season, it is expected that more people fall sick, particularly with more upper respiratory tract infections like influenza and common cold. Taking the vaccine annually is the best way to prevent the disease. The flu vaccine is updated annually to provide protection against the viruses that cause this disease.”

“Recently and during the months of October and November Healthcare facilities in the UAE are witnessing a surge in patients with symptoms like fever, cough, cold, body ache, loose motion, vomiting. Health care workers note that most of the cases are from the school children.

Children are more vulnerable to influenza as they are less likely to resist diseases and more likely to get the infections by touching eyes and nose without washing their hands or following proper cough etiquette.

Other high risk groups are pregnant ladies, immunocompromised people and people aged 50 years and above.

We advise people and parents not to panic, as most of the cases are mild to moderate cases and treatable and most of the cases are self-limiting in healthy adults and children.”


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