Influenza-Like Illness In Auckland Region
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Influenza-Like Illness In Auckland Region’s Schools And Communities
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is aware of a number of schools with outbreaks of flu-like illness. The Service is advising school communities, students and parents to take care and use preventative measures to stop the risk of spreading infection.
ARPHS was advised by two schools of student absences due to flu-like symptoms including coughs, vomiting and high temperatures. Further investigation by ARPHS has shown that similar outbreaks are affecting other school communities in the Auckland area.
Dr Craig Thornley, ARPHS’s medical officer of health says, “We expect a higher level of flu at this time of year – this is flu season.”
“To stop the risk of spreading the virus person to person stay home if you are sick, cover your coughs and be careful to wash hands often and dry them thoroughly. Hand hygiene is critical; even when you start to feel better there is still a risk of infecting others so keep to the 20/20 rule – 20 seconds washing and 20 seconds drying.”
People should see their GP if they or their children experience symptoms such as rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, severe vomiting or if a child is not responding or is difficult to wake up.
This year’s flu immunisation covers all the current virus strains in New Zealand so those people who did get the vaccine are likely to have protection.
Viruses change every year so a flu vaccination at the start of winter, in March or April, is the best protection available.
For hand hygiene facts and more facts about influenza people can go to http://www.arphs.govt.nz/notifiable/downloads/Influenza.pdf