Warning after a number of 'Aussie flu' deaths reported

There has been a spike in the number of reported cases here

Warning after a number of 'Aussie flu' deaths reported

File photo | Image: Martin Keene PA Archive/PA Images

Health Minister Simon Harris is being asked to ensure that resources are in place to deal with a possible surge in the number of people being admitted to hospital with 'Aussie flu'.

It follows a spike in the number of reported cases.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health, Billy Kelleher, says the Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed a number of people have died from the H3N2 strain.

Deputy Kelleher explained: "Warnings about the severity of this flu virus were issued months ago, when it first surfaced in Australia, now it appears as if the strain is taking hold here."

Seventy-three people have been hospitalised here so far this winter.

"The HSE is continuing to encourage people to get the flu vaccine - especially those in high risk groups.

"Older people, children, and people with underlying health conditions are at particular risk and it’s feared that the number of cases here could rise dramatically over the coming weeks.

"I am concerned that any significant increase in cases could pose a serious threat to our already overburdened hospital system.

"In the majority of cases, this flu, while serious, can be treated at home.

"However there will always be more severe cases, which will need acute medical intervention."

Source: HSE

Generally, the flu season starts in January. However, this year the season commenced earlier in mid-December.

The HSE says the the main group affected are those aged 65 years and older.

The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains.

You may also lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a dry cough.

The HSE adds that people may need to stay in bed until symptoms get better.

Symptoms can last for up to one week.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly with a fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue - whereas a cold usually starts gradually with a sore throat and a blocked or a runny nose.

Symptoms of a cold are generally mild compared to flu.

Source: HSE

More information and advice can be found here