Close up of flu vacination.
Close up of flu vacination. Chris Ison ROK170412cflu1

Vaccination for elderly vital as flu season takes hold

THE EMERGENCE of new strains of influenza virus means it is vital to maintain immunisation levels in the most at risk group in Australia, the elderly.

Health authorities estimate flu causes 13,500 hospitalisations a year and more than 3000 deaths among Australians over 50 years of age.

This winter, North Coast Primary Health Network and the Northern NSW Local Health District are working together to educate the community about how to avoid getting the flu and possibly ending up in hospital.

North Coast GP and NCPHN Clinical Advisor Dr Dan Ewald said it was important to get the flu shot every year as the flu strains which affect the community are changing all the time.

"By having a flu shot each year, you decrease the chances of getting influenza and spreading the virus to others," he said.

"The flu poses major risks to many people, especially older folks. The influenza virus infection can potentially develop into pneumonia or other serious complications such as multi-organ failure leading to death."

There is no financial excuse for missing a flu jab as vaccination is free for those aged 65 and older.

The influenza virus is especially dangerous for elderly people, particularly if they have underlying medical conditions, or are susceptible to pneumonia.

Flu symptoms include tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, coughing, sneezing, runny noses, poor appetite, and muscle aches.

Older people with the flu can experience complications and end up seriously ill in hospital

Talk to your GP or pharmacist today about getting the flu shot and staying well this winter. The flu, it's not just about you.

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