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HSE urges high-risk patients to get flu vaccination

The HSE says flu is now ciruclating, and over 65s, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses should act quickly.

Image: StockLite via Shutterstock

THE HSE has urged high-risk patients to seek a flu vaccination as soon as possible, saying the number of reported cases of flu-like illnesses suggests that the virus is now in widespread circulation.

There were 24.9 cases of flu-like illnesses for each 100,000 people in Ireland in the week ending December 16 – passing the threshold beyond which influenza activity is declared.

High-risk groups such as the over-65s, pregnant women, healthcare workers, children with chronic illness, and residents of nursing homes have been urged to act quickly and seek vaccinations against the virus.

“Influenza is now circulating in the community, it is important that people in high-risk categories get vaccinated against influenza,” Dr Darina O’Flanagan of the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre said.

“The symptoms of influenza usually develop over a matter of a few hours and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat.

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

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O’Flanagan added that covering ones nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then disposing of the tissue and washing ones hands with soap and water, were helpful to prevent the spread of flu.

Anyone who contracts the flu is advised to stay at home, rest and drink plenty of fluids, and can use over-the-counter paracaetamol to help ease their symptoms.

Those in the high-risk categories who develop flu-like symptoms should contact their GP for advice.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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