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West Coasters offered free flu protection


March 23, 2012 www.fightflu.co.nz


West Coasters offered free flu protection

West Coasters are being urged to call their doctor or nurse as soon as possible to book their ‘flu’ vaccination before the start of winter – the vaccination is free for many people.

Influenza or ‘flu’ can be a serious illness – it’s more than a “bad cold”. Anyone can catch it. Even fit and healthy people can get it and can get very sick, according to National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG)1 spokesperson and virus expert Dr Lance Jennings.

“Some people can end up in hospital and some die because the disease can make other conditions, such as breathing or heart problems, even worse,” he says.

Flu immunisation is free for New Zealanders at high risk of more severe disease and complications – pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and anyone with ongoing health conditions such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers.

Dr Jennings says the seriousness of influenza viruses shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Even a moderate dose of flu can stop you from working, studying or enjoying other activities for a week or more. And some people feel tired for weeks afterwards.”

Influenza vaccine is only free for eligible groups from a doctor or nurse until July 31. Vaccine is available to other people for a small charge. Immunisation is available, but not free, for healthy children six months and over and adults.

Influenza immunisation cannot give you the flu because it does not contain live viruses. There can be side effects, and these usually disappear within 1-2 days without treatment.

NISG says that as well as getting a flu vaccination you may protect yourself and your family/whanau from flu 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.

For further information go to www.fightflu.co.nz or www.moh.govt.nz or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.

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