Department urges community to get influenza vaccination

2016-05-18 06:00

INFLUENZA is said to be one of the biggest causes of death worldwide.

This is according to a report of the Northern Cape Department of Health that revealed that influenza was responsible for about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths every year. Hence it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

The department has also appealed to all those who qualify for free influenza vaccination to visit their nearest clinic as soon as possible, especially those falling under the following categories: pregnant women; people 65 years and older; health-care workers; residents of old-age homes, chronic and rehabilitation institutions; children between six and 59 months; children from six years to 18 years who are on long-term aspirin therapy, and adults and children who are immunocompromised.

Community members who do not fall under these categories are encouraged to be vaccinated at their own cost.

The vaccine protects one from various strains of influenza and the influenza vaccine should be administered every year.

The report further states that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective. Although it does not guarantee that one would not contract influenza, it would be mild if one does.

Patients have also been urged to stay home when they feel unwell and to try and keep some distance from other people.

The virus can be spread from person-to-person through exposure to infected droplets released through coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled, or that can contaminate hands or surfaces.

In order to prevent influenza from spreading, people who are ill should practise cough etiquette by coughing on the upper sleeve of the arm or elbow and not into their hands, and by covering their mouth and nose with disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing, and then to discard the tissue in a bin and wash their hands with soap and water or a hand sanitiser.

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