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About HKCFP > President’s Message

February 2024

At the beginning of February, The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health commenced an investigation on an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) at a secondary school in Southern district of Hong Kong, which involved over 50 students aged 12 to 20. More than 10 staff members of the school were also involved. All were reported to be in stable condition without needing hospitalisation. (please click) As we are in the winter surge period when influenza is on the rise, the general public are advised to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene, and receive seasonal influenza vaccination for better protection. People should be vigilant against respiratory illnesses and pay special attention to receiving seasonal influenza vaccination for personal protection; wearing Surgical masks to prevent transmission of respiratory viruses if feeling unwell or in crowded places. For high-risk persons (e.g. persons with underlying medical conditions or persons who are immunocompromised), wear a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places. Performing hand hygiene before wearing and after removing a mask would be essential and avoid touching one's eyes, mouth and nose. It is important to maintain good indoor ventilation also.

When having respiratory symptoms, people should refrain from work or attending classes at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly. Last but not least, maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress. Members of the general public, especially children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases, should seek advice from a doctor promptly if they develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

The CHP also reminded the public, especially the elderly and people with chronic illnesses like heart conditions, respiratory illnesses and other chronic illnesses, to adopt appropriate measures to protect themselves in view of the cold weather hitting us recently. (please click)

Some senior citizens may have decreased mobility that impairs their ability to generate and conserve body heat. Chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, diabetes and endocrine disorders may undermine the health of elderly people and lower their metabolic rate, subsequently causing their body to generate less heat. Persons with chronic illnesses such as chronic respiratory illnesses or heart disease are vulnerable to disease aggravation due to cold weather. The aforementioned vulnerable group should keep warm clothing on, including hats, scarves, gloves and socks accordingly. Sufficient food should be consumed to ensure adequate calorie intake. Regular exercise is good for blood circulation and heat production. Stay in a warm environment and avoid prolonged outdoor exposure. Heaters should be used with care, and maintain adequate indoor ventilation. Lastly, seek medical advice in a timely manner if feeling unwell. In addition, the public should avoid alcoholic beverages which can accelerate body heat loss through dilated blood vessels. Parents are advised to keep babies sufficiently warm and relatively lightly clothed to avoid overheating them at the same time, while keeping the room well ventilated. Always place babies on their back to sleep and leave their head, face and arms uncovered during sleep. In addition, CHP recommends seasonal influenza vaccination for all persons aged 6 months or above except those with known contraindications. Persons at higher risk of getting influenza and its complications, including the elderly and children, should receive seasonal influenza vaccination early. 

We are privileged to have Prof. Chris Butler, Professor of Primary Care, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford sharing with us on the topic of “Evaluating Point of Care Tests for Guiding Antimicrobial Prescribing in Primary Care” on 28 February (Wed) from 2:00 – 3:00pm via an online platform. Please do reserve your timeslot and enrol via the usual College channels to attend this seminar if you have not done so yet. In addition, Prof. Butler is hosting a face-to-face Research Meeting on the same day, i.e. 28 February (Wed) from 6:00pm at Rm 802, 8/F, Duke of Windsor Social Services Building, 15 Hennessy Road, Wanchai. The target participants are higher trainees/potential candidates of Exit Exam. Please don’t miss the chance to discuss your research projects with Prof. Butler.

Wishing you and your family a very healthy and prosperous year of the dragon ahead!

Dr. David V K CHAO