THE HSE HAS moved to allay public fears over the H1N1 flu virus, more commonly known as Swine Flu, after a child died earlier this week in a Dublin hospital after contracting the strain.
The child who died from the virus was not from Dublin.
“The HSE wishes to offer its condolences to the family of a child who tragically died having contracted influenza,” the executive said in a statement this evening.
All of the paediatric hospitals and units throughout the country would like to reassure patients and families that they are fully operational during this flu season and, if children have appointments, they should attend as scheduled.
“Hospitals always apply strict infection control practices and in particular during peak periods of community acquired flu,” the HSE said.
The statement confirmed that swine flu is now a “seasonal” virus that circulates worldwide and that the H1N1 strain has been included in the seasonal flu vaccine in Ireland since the 2010/2011 influenza season.
“The HSE provides the flu and pneumococcal vaccine free of charge for all those in the at-risk groups,” the statement said.
The health body is encouraging those who have not got an appointment for the flu vaccine to do so as soon as possible, and has stressed that the following groups of people in particular should receive the jab:
- Everyone aged 65 years and over
- Anyone over six months of age with a long term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes or those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment
- Pregnant women
- Children or teenagers on long-term aspirin therapy
- Residents of nursing homes and other long stay facilities
Further information for managing flu symptoms can be found here.