The flu season is upon us and older Australians are most at risk. In the elderly, catching the flu can result in severe illness and even death.
It is estimated that each year the flu causes 13,500 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths among Australians over 50 years of age.
Our best defence against the flu is to vaccinate every year. It is important to do this every year as the flu strains affecting our community can change all the time. And for those aged 65 and older, the flu vaccination is free.
The influenza virus is especially dangerous for elderly people, particularly if they have underlying medical conditions, or are susceptible to pneumonia. Flu symptoms include tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, coughing, sneezing, runny noses, poor appetite, and muscle aches. Older people with the flu can experience complications and end up seriously ill in hospital.
This winter, North Coast Primary Health Network and the Northern NSW Local Health District are working together to educate the community about how to avoid getting the flu and possibly ending up in hospital.
North Coast GP and NCPHN Clinical Advisor Dr Dan Ewald said it was important to get the flu shot every year as the flu strains which affect the community are changing all the time.
“By having a flu shot each year, you decrease the chances of getting influenza and spreading the virus to others. The flu poses major risks to many people, especially older folks. The influenza virus infection can potentially develop into pneumonia or other serious complications such as multi-organ failure leading to death,” he said.
Talk to your GP or pharmacist today about getting the flu shot and staying well this winter. The flu, it’s not just about you.
For more information, contact Dr Dan Ewald on 0411 154 792.