HSE urges at risk groups to get vaccinated following sharp increase in flu cases

The rate of influenza-like illness jumped to 48.5 per 100,000 population last week - four times the previous rate

HSE urges at risk groups to get vaccinated following sharp increase in flu cases

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The HSE is advising anybody at high-risk of flu to get vaccinated following a significant increase in the number of reported cases.

The flu season appears to be well underway after GPs reported dealing with a massive surge in the rates of influenza-like illness last week. The consultation rate jumped to 48.5 per 100,000 population - compared to 11.3 per 100,000 for the week ending January 3rd.

The HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is encouraging anybody in high-risk groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

At risk groups include anyone aged 65 or older, anybody with a long-term medical condition, pregnant women, healthcare workers, and residents of nursing homes.

HPSC director Dr Darina O’Flanagan says "people in ‘at risk’ groups should get the vaccine as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, and sadly many end up in hospital.  The vaccine and consultation are free for those with a Medical Card or GP Visit Card". 

Anybody who gets flu should stay at home and rest while drinking plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter medicines to help ease symptoms, Dr O'Flanagan adds.