News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Busy hospitals fear flu influx

Busy hospitals fear flu influx


Busy hospitals say a rise in serious influenza cases is the last thing they need this winter.

“Our hospitals are already coping with a rise in patient numbers as winter hits. One thing that would really help ease the pressure is for those people eligible for free influenza immunisation to get protection now. Wider immunisation could minimise the risk of a sudden influx into the hospitals,” says Dr Lance Jennings, a virologist and spokesperson for the National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG)1.

He says influenza is a serious disease, especially for people with underlying medical conditions. It can make their condition much worse and lead to hospitalisation and even death. Influenza usually has symptoms such as a sudden onset of illness, high fever, headache, a dry cough and illness usually lasts 7-10 days.

“It’s not too late for eligible New Zealanders to protect themselves with a free flu vaccination – the Government’s subsidised season runs until July 31,” advises Dr Jennings.

Dr Jennings says that all three types of influenza virus currently in circulation are covered by the 2014 season influenza vaccine.

“We’re also seeing other respiratory viral infections, including common colds, in the community and it’s important people don’t confuse them with actual influenza. They may have some similar symptoms but they’re not the same thing. The influenza vaccine does not stop colds.”

“Influenza tends to spread more easily in cold, dry air so that’s one reason we see cases rise in winter. Studies have shown that human influenza viruses generally can survive on hard surfaces between two and eight hours so that’s why we stress the importance of good hand and respiratory hygiene and keeping your distance if you’re sneezing or coughing.”

NISG says that as well as getting an influenza vaccination you may protect yourself and your family/whanau from influenza if you:

Wash and dry your hands often
Stay away from people who are sick
Stay away from work or school if you’re unwell
Cover your coughs and sneezes.

“We estimate around 1.18 million people have already been vaccinated this year. However, many of those eligible for free vaccination have not taken up the offer so far. That still leaves many vulnerable people unprotected and this is a concern as we head into flu season.

“People, especially those at greatest risk from flu complications, should be immunised as soon as possible. Influenza cases traditionally begin to rise sharply at this time of year and it takes up to two weeks to develop full protection after vaccination.”

Influenza vaccinations are free for New Zealanders until the end of July if you are in one of these groups:

· People aged 65 and over
· Anyone under 65 years of age (including children) with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers
Pregnant women
Children aged from six months and up to five years of age who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness.

“Contrary to a widely-held myth, you cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain any live virus. Unfortunately some people may be incubating a common cold when vaccinated and then develop respiratory symptoms due to a non-influenza virus.”


For free health advice, call Healthline 0800 611 116. For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

EPMU: Fourth Pike River Anniversary

Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. More>>

ALSO:

'Kindara': Unusual Ginger Coloured Kiwi Chick Released To Taupo Creche

A cute little kiwi chick with an unusual ginger tinge to its feathers has just been released to Wairakei Golf & Sanctuary Kiwi Creche in Taupo after hatching at Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Encounter. More>>

Werewolf: The Complicatist : Bob Dylan Himself, And By Others

Bob Dylan is about to release a six CD version of the entire Basement Tapes sessions he recorded with the Band 40 years ago. To mark the occasion, I’ve rustled together some favourite cover versions of Dylan songs, and a few lesser-known tracks by the great man. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Gone Girl : The Trouble With Amy

Philip Matthews: Three words to describe the David Fincher film Gone Girl: cynical, topical and ridiculous. Ridiculous isn’t a negative. More>>

ALSO:

11/11: Armistice Day Peace Vigils

On Armistice Day 2014, the second in the series of peace vigils that will take place three times each year during the World War One centenary will be held in Hokianga, Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Otaki, Lower Hutt, Wellington and Takaka. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news