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Flu season to last another five weeks, HSE warns

There has been a marked increase in flu presentations in comparison to last year.

Image: Shutterstock/Mike Fouque

THE FLU SEASON is to last another five weeks, the HSE has warned. 

The current flu season, which arrived three to four weeks early this year, has lead to the death of 22 people to date, 17 of those aged 65 years and older.

Forty-five patients presenting to hospital with the flu have been admitted to intensive care as of yesterday.

The HSE stated today that it believes the flu season peaked last week, but this will be confirmed tomorrow.

At today’s Winter Oversight Group meeting it was noted that there has been a marked increase in flu presentations in comparison to last year. 

While the peak might have passed, the HSE warns that people will still be presenting with flu in the weeks ahead. 

Dr Vida Hamilton told reporters today that it is “not too late” to get the flu vaccine.

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“The vaccine is an extremely good match this year and despite us being in the midst of a very busy flu season it’s not too late to vaccinate,” she said.

In a briefing on the numbers presenting to emergency department over the Christmas period, Chief Opperations Officer HSE Anne O’Connor said presentations and admissions to the emergency departments had decreased compared to last week. However they are tracking significantly higher than the same time last year. 

There has been a significant increase in the number of over 75s attending emergency departments, up 25% year on year. 

Minister of Health Simon Harris said that in some cases of flu, the patient will be able to effectively treat themselves at home, and it’s best to visit before attending your GP or, if needed, an ED.

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