Each winter the numbers have increased
The HSE have released a statement which states that there has been an increase in the amount of people suffering from the flu this winter.
The HSE said that generally, what is known as the flu season starts in January. However, this year the season commenced earlier in mid-December with the dominant circulating virus influenza, which in the main affects those aged 65 years and older.
To date this season, there have been 270 hospitalised flu cases, with 15 cases admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICUs). There have been 36 ILI/influenza outbreaks (32 in Residential Care Facilities and four in acute hospitals) which have been reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Speaking at a media briefing today in Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dr. Kevin Kelleher, Director of Public Health said "We are now seeing a major rise in people attending GPs and GP out of hours services with influenza like illnesses (ILI). The best protection for people from the flu virus is the flu vaccine, yet every year many people in at risk groups fail to get vaccinated and so put themselves at risk of serious illness or even death."
Dr. Kelleher added "It is expected that influenza activity will peak in the next 1-2 weeks and that increased influenza activity will continue for the next 4-5 weeks. Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, therapists and carers also need to get the seasonal flu vaccine every year."
The HSE said there are particular groups that are more vulnerable to influenza: