HSE reminding people to get flu vaccine

Flu levels likely to increase in coming weeks
  • Deborah Condon

The HSE is reminding people in at-risk groups that it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu.

Flu (influenza) is a highly infectious and potentially serious virus that kills between 200 and 500 people in Ireland every year. Flu season typically lasts from October to April, however current data shows that flu levels are likely to increase over the coming weeks as the virus begins to actively circulate in the community.

"Flu is now beginning to circulate, and as schools reopen and people return to work, we are likely to see increased levels. The predominant strain currently circulating is H1N1, which is affecting younger age groups more than strains that have circulated in previous years. This year's vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and it is not too late to get the vaccine," explained Dr Kevin Kelleher of the HSE and Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

All people in at-risk groups are advised to get vaccinated if they have not already done so. These groups include:
-People over the age of 65
-Pregnant women
-Healthcare workers
-Adults and children (over six months of age) with chronic illnesses that require regular follow-up, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and cystic fibrosis
-Residents of nursing homes and other long-stay facilities.

"While most people will get better themselves from flu, anyone who is concerned about their condition should telephone their GP or an out of hours medical service, so they can arrange to be treated in a way that does not put others at risk. People with symptoms should stay at home and children should not attend school if showing signs of flu," Dr Kelleher added.

For more information on flu, including the vaccine, click here

 


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