Brace for frigid New Year and beware of flu

It will be a cold start to the new year, and local residents are warned as the autumnal-winter influenza season reaches its peak.
Brace for frigid New Year and beware of flu
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A child patient receives IV at Shanghai Children’s Hospital on Beijing Road W. on Wednesday. The hospital has seen a rush of flu patients amid the frigid conditions.

A cold front is set to arrive over the weekend, providing a frigid start to 2018, forecasters said on Wednesday.

It will be overcast to cloudy, with intermittent drizzles, from Thursday to Saturday, with temperatures remaining stable, fluctuating between 9 and 14 degrees Celsius, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Sunshine will return on Sunday, but it doesn’t mean warm tidings. Instead, a cold front, set to arrive late on Saturday, will dramatically lower the temperatures, with the high down to 10 degrees and the low to only 3 degrees.

The mercury will continue to fall on Monday — New Year’s Day. The low will hover around 2 degrees, forecasters said.

Due to the unstable weather conditions, residents are advised to to keep warm and maintain indoor air ventilation. The warning comes as the city has entered the peak of its annual autumn-winter influenza season. But there’s no need panic as the situation is stable and under control, according to the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Type B flu virus is the prevalent strain in the city this winter, said Pan Hao, an official with the Shanghai CDC.

“It’s not as powerful as the Type A flu virus, such as H1N1 — the predominant strain of the 2015 flu season,” Pan said. “It is less likely to cause a pandemic outbreak.”

The CDC said that adults are at a higher risk from the Type B flu virus and has predicted a rise in the number of adult patients. Children, meanwhile, are more likely to fall victim to “stomach flu,” caused by norovirus infection, which is also spreading in the city.

Children suffering “stomach flu” develop symptoms similar to flu like cough and fever.

Four-year-old Duoduo is very likely one of the "stomach flu" victims.

Her mother surnamed Song took her to Shanghai Children’s Hospital on Beijing Road W. around 5pm on Wednesday, by when Duoduo was the 645th patient of the day.

“Duoduo started to have high fever and diarrhea on Wednesday morning,” she said. “I hope we can see the doctor by 11pm.”

To deal with the crowds, the hospital has expanded its operation hours to 11pm since November 28. Its Beijing Road branch and Luding Road branch received more than 9,200 young patients a day on Saturday last week and Monday this week.

Figures from Xinhua Hospital’s Pediatrics Department show a 6.7 percent week-on-week increase in the number of children being treated at the hospital.

Brace for frigid New Year and beware of flu
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Parents wait with their ailing children as they await treatment at Shanghai Children's Hospital on Beijing Road W. on Wednesday.

Special Reports