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Blue Mountains News

Winter is Coming! Protect Yourself from Flu

Source: Wentworth Healthcare Limited
Posted: 24 Apr 2018
Last winter over 90,000 people in NSW were struck down by flu making it the worst flu season since the 2009 pandemic.

Most cases occurred in Sydney with over 42,500 people affected last year. The worst hit areas were Western Sydney, Nepean-Blue Mountains and South West Sydney local health districts, where more than a third of the state's flu-ridden people were treated.

This week is World Immunisation Week, and Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN), is urging the community to get vaccinated against the flu before it’s too late.

Lizz Reay, CEO of Wentworth Healthcare said, “Vaccination is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of flu in our community.”

“To protect yourself and your family, you should get vaccinated every year. The flu virus is always changing so the flu vaccine changes every year too,” she said.

“Last year’s horror flu season created a significant burden on our healthcare system, with more than twice the number of people with flu being admitted to hospital than is typical. Getting vaccinated now will protect you before the peak flu period, which is usually around June to September,” said Ms Reay.

Children, the elderly and people with some pre-existing medical conditions, are more vulnerable to serious complications from the flu. Children can receive the flu vaccine from the age of six months, and this year, two new vaccines have been developed to provide better protection for people aged 65 years and over.

Free flu vaccines are available to eligible people from mid-April under the National Immunisation Program. Flu vaccines are available from GPs, community health clinics, Aboriginal Medical Service, and other vaccination providers in the area.

The following groups are eligible for a free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program:

  • all pregnant women
  • all children aged six months to less than 5 years
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
  • people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza
  • all people aged 65 years and over

Individuals can use their My Health Record to keep track of their immunisation history. My Health Record is a safe and secure online summary of an individual’s health information that can be shared with GPs specialists, and other healthcare providers. For more information or to register now for a My Health Record visit the my health record website or free call 1800 723 471.

Last week NBMPHN launched its Winter is Coming! Campaign through cinemas and social media to encourage people to get vaccinated. 

 
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