Ministry warns against use of drugs to treat children for flu

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says children with flu symptoms should be taken to a doctor.

KUALA LUMPUR: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prescribed for children under five years old to reduce fever could expose them to a higher risk of influenza complications, the health ministry warned today.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said clinical evidence indicates that NSAIDs could increase the risk of influenza complications such as encephalitis among children.

If necessary, he said, appropriate doses of paracetamol should be given instead with tepid sponging applied to the patients who should also be given sufficient drinks to stay hydrated.

He said children with fever should be taken to a doctor if the fever does not subside or influenza symptoms are experienced, such as flu, sore throat, cough, headache, joint pain and fatigue.

According to an earlier statement issued by Noor Hisham on Dec 31, the rise in influenza cases was still in the normal range and almost similar to such occurrences in previous years.

He said monitoring of the outbreak was being undertaken by using data obtained from several sentinel locations across the country.

To curb the spread of the illness, the ministry advised the public to observe high standards of personal hygiene by washing hands with soap and water or by using hand sanitisers.