As most of you are aware, there has been an outbreak of influenza in Kerry since before Christmas. For most healthy young people the flu can be an uncomfortable and debilitating illness that requires at least five to seven days out of school or work. However, the symptoms usually respond to simple medication such as paracetamol, a cough bottle, a decongestant, plenty of fluids and rest.
High risk patients such as those with diabetes, asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, etc, are more likely to pick up the virus and have more severe symptoms with possible complications such as pneumonia. It is important that all high-risk patients, as outlined below, be vaccinated against the influenza virus every year. The ideal time to get vaccinated is later September or early October, although it is still not too late to get the vaccine. The vaccine is also recommended for pregnant woman and those travelling overseas for work or holidays at this time of year. The vaccine is free for anybody with a full medical card but there is a small administration fee charged for private patients and those with a Doctor’s Visit Card.
If you feel you or any of your family members, household contacts or friends would benefit from a vaccine please drop into The Ashe Street Clinic during office hours Monday to Friday and the vaccine can usually be given without an appointment.
The high-risk groups include the following:
- Everybody over 65 years old
- Anybody with chronic lung disease such as asthma or bronchitis
- Anybody with chronic heart disease such as leaking valves or a previous heart attack
- Anybody whose immunity is depressed such as those with diabetes or patients on chemotherapy, patients with cancer, etc.
- All children and adults living in residential centres
- All patients in nursing homes
- All healthcare workers including doctors , nurse and healthcare assistants