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flu sesason

Flu actively circulating in the community, says HSE

The HSE said that case numbers are increasing in all age groups, but particularly children and teens under 15.

THE HSE HAS warned that flu is actively circulating in the community and has urged the public to take caution to prevent it spreading further.

Some 192 cases of influenza were confirmed during the week ending 20 November, and 170 the previous week.

The HSE said that case numbers are increasing in all age groups, but particularly children and teens under 15.

In a press statement, Dr Greg Martin, the director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC), said: “People in at-risk categories need to get vaccinated against flu if they have not done so already.

“The influenza-like illness (ILI) rate for the week ending 20th November was 22.5 cases per 100,000 population which is above the threshold of 18.1 cases per 100,000, indicating that influenza is now actively circulating in the community.”

Flu symptoms usually develop in a few hours and include a high temperature, sore muscles, a dry cough, headache and sore throat.

This differs from the common cold, which tends to come on more gradually and usually includes a runny nose and a normal temperature.

The flu vaccine takes two weeks to take effect. It is free for people in at-risk groups, including everyone aged 65 or over, children aged two to 17, pregnant women, people under 65 with a long-term illness and those in nursing homes.

The vaccine is also recommended for all healthcare workers and carers.

A list of pharmacies administering the flu vaccine is available here.

Dr Martin added: “Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms. Anyone in one of the at-risk groups who develops flu symptoms or anyone who is not in an at-risk group, but whose flu symptoms are severe or getting worse, should contact their GP.

“GPs may wish to prescribe antiviral medication for patients in these categories.

If you need to visit your GP or the Emergency Department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu.”

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