The flu is actively circulating and increasing, with children under the age of fourteen being particularly affected, the country’s watchdog warned today.
The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has asked the public to help prevent the spread of the flu.
The number of confirmed cases reported to the HPSC increased last week, with 192 cases reported in the week ending November 20 and 170 the week before.
It increased in all age groups, but particularly in those from 0 to 14 years.
HPSC Director Dr. Greg Martin said: “People in at-risk categories need to get vaccinated against flu if they have not done so already. The influenza-like illness (ILI) rate for the week ending 20th November was 22.5 cases per 100,000 population, which is above the threshold of 18.1 cases per 100,000, indicating that influenza is now actively circulating in the community. 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,” reports Independent.
Vaccination remains the most effective means of preventing seasonal influenza virus infection and can reduce severe illness that can lead to hospitalization and death. The injection takes two weeks to take effect.
He said the vaccine is a safe and effective preventative measure against flu and is provided free of charge to people in risk groups, which includes everyone age 65 and older, children ages 2 to 17, pregnant women , anyone under the age of 65 with a long-term illness that requires regular medical monitoring, such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or people with lowered immunity due to illness or treatment, those living in households nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and those in regular contact with pigs, poultry, or waterfowl.
The vaccine is also recommended for all healthcare workers and healthcare professionals to protect themselves and their loved ones. You can get the vaccine from your GP or pharmacy.
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