Foil the flu, get a jab

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 11:38 11/07/2014

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Public health authorities have moved to encourage more people get the flu jab as winter bites.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board medical officer of Health Dr Ed Kiddle said there had been no admissions to Nelson or Wairau hospitals for patients with influenza.

The deadly H1N1 strain, which was behind the 2009 "swine flu" pandemic, has hit Wellington and Hawke's Bay but there had been no cases in Nelson-Marlborough, Kiddle said.

There had been hospital admissions for respiratory conditions and asthma as the cold weather hit, he said.

Kiddle urged people to get the flu jab, especially those in high-risk groups.

Pregnant woman are 18 times more likely to be hospitalised with the flu than women who are not pregnant, he said.

People could still get their flu jabs until the end of the month, and it was free for many at-risk groups, such as people over 65, children and pregnant women.

There were still people eligible for the free jab who had not taken up the offer.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said the number of flu cases reported to GPs and in hospitals has already started to climb.

"Influenza puts hundreds of New Zealanders in hospital every year, and keeps many more off work and school. The influenza vaccine is the best protection available against this serious illness."

National Influenza Specialist Group spokesman and virologist Dr Lance Jennings said influenza was a serious disease, especially for people with underlying medical conditions.

Influenza usually has symptoms such as a sudden onset of illness, high fever, headache, a dry cough and illness that usually lasts 7 to 10 days.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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