The flu season is here and for those in the at risk groups, it is essential that they get their annual flu jab. Flu can be a very serious and sometimes deadly disease, with potentially 1,000 flu related deaths in Ireland during a severe flu season.
Flu is very infectious and can cause serious illness especially for those in the following at risk groups:
· People aged 65 years and over · Anyone over six months of age with a long term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as respiratory disease, heart conditions, diabetes or those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment · Pregnant women · Residents of nursing homes and other residential care services · Healthcare workers
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu as it does not contain any live flu virus and all those in the at risk groups should get vaccinated as soon as possible to make sure they are protected.
The symptoms of flu usually develop over a matter of a few hours, and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat. Flu is different from the common cold, which tends to come on more gradually and usually includes a runny nose and a normal temperature. Flu is spread by coughing and sneezing so people should cover their nose and mouth with a tissue, disposing of the tissue and washing their hands with soap and water as soon as possible to help prevent the spread of flu. Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter flu remedies to ease symptoms. People in high-risk categories should contact their GP, if they develop flu symptoms For some people, flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and can lead to an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks, even in previously healthy people.
Dr Anthony Breslin, Specialist in Public Health Medicine stated ‘I urge all those in the at risk groups to get the flu vaccine as the winter season approaches’.
Tommie Gorman, RTE Correspondent is delighted to continue his support for the CHO 1 Flu Protection Campaign. Tommie states, “ I’ve got a chronic cancer condition which gives me a dodgy immune system and it’s a miracle I’m alive, that’s why I get the flu jab each year, in fact I look forward to getting it.”
Cara O’ Neill, Head of Health and Wellbeing for Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan & Sligo), stressed the importance of being vaccinated against flu and keeping healthy and well this winter. She stated that “The core message of our CHO 1 flu protection campaign is “Protection against, flu is everyone’s responsibility. Please protect yourself, your loved ones and those around you by getting the flu jab.” As part of this year’s CHO 1 Flu Protection Campaign, a series of posters, information leaflets targeting the at risk groups and conveying the message to get vaccinated will be displayed in HSE Primary Care Centres, Residential and day care facilities across the five counties. A series of workshops will also be held to promote the flu jab in partnership with HSE staff.
The Flu vaccine is available from your General Practitioner and local Pharmacy.