Flu season is here
Pharmacists advise it’s not too late to get the Vaccine
- Vaccination will help combat the trolley crisis
13 January 2020: The Irish Pharmacy Union has today urged people who have not yet received the flu vaccine to do so at their local community pharmacy, saying that doing so will help combat the current trolley crisis in Irish hospitals.
Community Pharmacist and IPU Executive Committee Member Ann Marie Horan explained the importance of getting the flu vaccine in reducing hospital overcrowding, saying “Each year we experience a so-called trolley crisis in our hospitals when the flu season reaches its peak. In the last week alone over 662 people have been hospitalised with the condition. The single most effective step for anyone to take to avoid the flu is to avail of the flu vaccination.
“The more people across the community who receive the vaccine, the lower the overall rates will be. While some people may feel that it is ‘too late’ in the flu season to avail of the vaccine, that is certainly not the case, as the flu season in the Northern Hemisphere typically runs until April.
“For those who have yet to get the vaccine, particularly those in high-risk groups, we are telling people it’s not too late to get vaccinated. We are also reminding people that if you were vaccinated last year, you will still need to get vaccinated again this year. Each flu season is different and therefore, unlike many vaccines which can provide lifelong protection, a flu vaccine is required annually. If you received a vaccine last year, there is no guarantee that you are protected from the strains of the virus that are hitting Ireland during this flu season.”
Ms Horan concluded, “Pharmacists have been safely delivering flu vaccines since 2011. If you have yet to receive the vaccine make your appointment in your pharmacy today – you are not just protecting yourself but are playing your part in protecting your community.”
Siobhán Kane, Press and Communications Manager, 087 7751510
What’s the difference between a cold and the flu?
A cold is much less severe than the flu. Flu symptoms come on suddenly with fevers and muscle aches, while a cold usually starts gradually with symptoms of a sore throat and a blocked or runny nose.
The following provides information on how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu.
|Fever||High fever lasts 3-4 days||Rare|
|General Aches, Pains||Usual; often severe||Slight|
|Fatigue, Weakness||Can last up to 2-3 weeks||Quite mild|
|Extreme Exhaustion||Early and prominent||Never|
|Chest Discomfort, Cough||Common; can become severe||Mild to moderate; hacking cough|
High-risk patients include:
- persons aged 65 years and older;
- persons with a chronic illness requiring regular follow up, e.g. chronic respiratory disease (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma and bronchopulmonary dysplasia), chronic heart disease (including acute coronary syndrome), chronic renal disease, diabetes mellitus, haemoglobinopathies, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease (including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system);
- those who are immunosuppressed due to disease or treatment including those with missing or non-functioning spleens;
- all cancer patients;
- patients with any condition that can compromise respiratory function, e.g. spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder;
- persons with Down syndrome;
- those with morbid obesity, i.e. body mass index over 40;
- all pregnant women (vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy);
- healthcare workers;
- household contacts of at-risk persons;
- out-of-home care givers to at-risk persons
- residents of nursing homes and other long-stay institutions;
- carers; and
- people with regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl.