Over­seas flu raises lo­cal alert

Whanganui Chronicle - - News - By Ja­cob McSweeny

There are con­cerns this year’s flu sea­son could be one of the worst yet.

The St John Am­bu­lance ser­vice is warn­ing about the com­ing flu sea­son after it had been “cat­a­strophic” over the US and United King­dom win­ters.

The ser­vice was urg­ing peo­ple to get im­mu­nised against the flu and to be ready to seek med­i­cal help if un­well.

Each win­ter the num­ber of 111 calls in­creased and that placed a lot of pres­sure on the am­bu­lances and hospi­tal emer­gency de­part­ments.

St John Cen­tral Dis­tricts op­er­a­tions man­ager St eve Yanko said it was best to be as pre­pared as pos­si­ble.

“It can be very un­pre­dictable. You start to see a surge once the colder months set­tle in.

“We prob­a­bly pre­vent the cases where it’s be­come a cri­sis and an am­bu­lance is needed . . . peo­ple wait­ing un­til they’re in ab­so­lute dire straits and they’re hav­ing to ring for an am­bu­lance.

“The big message for us is deal to your symp­toms early and don’t wait un­til you’re in a cri­sis.”

St John’s ad­vice was to treat mi­nor symp­toms such as com­mon colds and sore throats at home, but if they per­sist, the doc­tor should be called.

Yanko said neigh­bours and fam­ily mem­bers should be aware of those who were vul­ner­a­ble, like the el­derly and very young.

He en­cour­aged any­one who hadn’t al­ready got the flu jab to do so, as it wasn’t too late, with the peak of the flu sea­son of­ten com­ing in the mid­dle and end of win­ter.

The Whanganui Distri c t Health Board said flu sea­son had not yet started, and only a few cases of flu-like ill­ness had been seen at the Emer­gency De­part­ment.

The DHB pro­moted April as the best time to get a vac­ci­na­tion be­fore win­ter.

Peo­ple can get the flu jab from their GP, nurse or qual­i­fied vac­ci­nat­ing phar­ma­cist and it is free for the more vul­ner­a­ble groups such as over-65s and pregnant women.

Some em­ploy­ers pro­vide their staff with free im­mu­ni­sa­tion; oth­er­wise it is avail­able for a fee.

This year’s vac­cine was ex­pected to of­fer pro­tec­tion against the strain cir­cu­lat­ing in North­ern Hemi­sphere coun­tries.

The vac­cines con­tained four i nacti vated vi r us s t r ai ns, spe­cially for­mu­lated for this year’s virus sea­son.

There were no live viruses in the vac­cine, which meant peo­ple could not catch the flu from the vac­cine.

St John Am­bu­lance is warn­ing about the com­ing flu sea­son as win­ter kicks in. PHOTO / FILE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.