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Defence against influenza starts with a phone call


Defence against influenza starts with a phone call

“Seasonal influenza vaccination is now available and FREE for people of any age with some medical conditions and people aged 65 and over” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jim Miller. “But because influenza is very easily transmitted - everyone is at risk of catching it - no matter how healthy you are.”

The influenza vaccine offers proven, effective immunity against the virus. It can’t give you influenza because it contains no live viruses. Other respiratory illnesses are common at the same time of year and the vaccination will not protect you against these. Influenza can be a very serious illness. It is highly infectious and an individual is infectious prior to the onset of symptoms. The vaccine is between 70 and 90% effective at preventing it.

“So while it might feel like you’re barely out of beachwear - it’s time to start thinking about giving yourself, family and friends the best protection against influenza over the coming year,” he says.

Dr Jim Miller says it’s important to remember influenza is not the common cold.

“It is a potentially serious viral infection,” he says. “Influenza can last for weeks and carries the risk of significant complications such as pneumonia.”

Dr Jim Miller says even when you are immunised you should practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of infection.

“Always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and then wash your hands, and always use disposable tissues and stay at home when sick,” he says.

Influenza immunisation is FREE for people 65 years or over and for people with some medical conditions, until the end of June. People are advised to call their doctor or nurse about influenza immunisation today.

For more information go to www.influenza.org.nz or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466863)

ENDS

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