CPS reminds persons to get their seasonal flu vaccine

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is recommending to persons to get their annual flu vaccine, especially high risk groups.

Getting a flu vaccine this season reduces a person’s risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by 23 per cent among people of all ages, the Center for Disease Control reports.

Vaccines can prevent some infections and can reduce severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and death.  Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three or four influenza viruses.

Influenza is an acute viral infection that spreads very easily from person to person, and can affect anybody in any age group.

Get vaccinated and apply strict and consistent preventive measures to stop you from getting the flu.

Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations.  Vaccination (flu shot) is the most effective way to prevent infection.

Persons who form part of the risk groups are:

·       all pregnant women who are in the last six months of pregnancy or second trimester – from their fourth month onwards;
· with pulmonary disease: asthma (when maintenance medication is given; this also holds true for children), COPD, carcinoma of the lung, anthracosilicosis, lungfibrosis , mucoviscidosis, severe kyfoscoliosis, status after resection of a lung, breathing difficulties;
· with cardiac disease: having experienced a myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, arrhythmias, valve dysfunction, cardiac failure;
· with diabetes mellitus, even if not on medication;
· with chronic kidney disease/failure: dialysis, kidney transplant;
· after a recent bone marrow transplant;
· with HIV-infection;
· with an intellectual disability in an intramural setting;
· with a diminished resistance to infections: livercirrosis, (functional) asplenia, auto-immune illnesses, chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medication;
· 60 years and older.

Front-line workers as well as health care workers who may be in contact with patients pertaining to the medical risk groups (personnel in nursing homes, senior citizen home, hospital, outpatient clinics and general practitioner/specialist practices), should get their flu vaccination.

Home care givers of persons with a very high risk for severe illness and mortality attributed to the flu should also be vaccinated.

The symptoms of the flu virus in people are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Consult your family physician in due time and do not place others at risk.  Take the necessary protection when in the vicinity of any sick persons. Apply strict cough etiquette and proper hand hygiene.

Eat healthy foods, get a lot of exercise and maintain a good sleep schedule which is usually eight hours.