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Winter can bring its share of sniffles and colds, but it can also unleash more serious illnesses such as the flu.
While a cold virus will likely last a few days, the flu, if left untreated, can lead to dangerous complications such as pneumonia and can even be fatal.
Those most susceptible tend to be the elderly, pregnant women and those with an ongoing medical condition such as diabetes or heart or lung condition, but it can affect anyone, no matter how fit and healthy they are.
Immunising against the flu helps prepare your immune system to fight the flu and can lessen the chance of someone not only getting it, but of spreading it around family, work colleagues, older relatives, or someone with a medical condition.
It takes two weeks to develop immunity once a person has the vaccine.
Pregnant women are at greater risk of complications from the flu and they can be vaccinated at any time during their pregnancy.
The vaccine can also pass immunity to the baby which can protect them in their first six weeks when they are too young to be vaccinated.
The flu is an airborne disease and very contagious, so if someone has the flu they should stay home from work to reduce spreading it around. Symptoms include a cough, headache, fever or chills, body aches and pains, fatigue and generally feeling miserable.
The flu is a severe respiratory illness which is different to a cold, so if people think they have a flu they need to seek medical treatment immediately.
The Flu vaccination is free for all Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki enrolled clients who are pregnant; 65 years and over; have longterm health conditions such as severe asthma, cancer and diabetes; and for children four years and under who have a history of respiratory illness.
Other enrolled clients are $20; unregistered $40.
Waikato DHB have just released their draft Health System Plan, which sets out how they want the health system to work for our people – and they’re wanting feedback from you. Do you think they’ve got it right? What is most important for you?
They’ll be in Thames to outline the plan and to hear your feedback on Wednesday 17th April, 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre. They’re offering a further drop-in session that evening, anytime from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.
You can read the plan at http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/hsp
Now’s your chance to have your save, whānau, so take some time to give them your feedback.
Following a measles outbreak in Canterbury and two reported cases in Auckland this month, Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki clients are urged to be alert to possible measles symptoms.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily from person to person through droplets in the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing as well as through contact.
Anyone unimmunised who has been in the same room as someone with measles will likely get it.
Measles can be life threatening, with about 1 in 10 people needing hospital treatment. It can also lead to other complications, including ear infections (which can cause permanent hearing loss), diarrhoea, pneumonia, seizures and swelling of the brain – this is rare, but can cause permanent brain damage or death.
Up to 30% of people with measles will develop complications – usually children under five and adults over the age of 20.
Measles affects both children and adults and is easily preventable by having a measles vaccine. In New Zealand, if you were born in 1969 or later, you can get the measles vaccine for free.
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki has the measles vaccine in stock.
Two doses of the measles vaccine provides the most effective protection for yourself, your family and the wider community. After one dose of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine, which is scheduled at 15 months and four years, about 95% of people are protected from measles. After two doses of the MMR vaccine, more than 99% people are protected.
If you have no documented record of two vaccinations, it is recommended that you have a booster of MMR. If you are not sure if you’ve had two vaccinations and there is no documentation, you can have a booster – it won’t do any harm.
If parents are very worried and want to have the vaccine earlier they need to speak to a Nurse to see if it is appropriate for the individual child.
Vaccination is particularly important if you are planning to travel anywhere overseas – to protect yourself and to help prevent outbreaks in New Zealand.
Pregnant women cannot have a MMR.
The symptoms of measles are a cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis, a fever above 38.5, followed by a rash starting around the head and spreading to the body.
Anyone with measles needs to be isolated from the time they become ill until five days after the rash has appeared. It is extremely important to stay in isolation if you’re asked to do so, to protect vulnerable people including babies, pregnant women, cancer patients and others who are unable to be immunised.
Phone Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki if you want to see if you need a booster or to make an appointment – 0508 835 676 (freephone).
Information in this article sourced from Ministry of Health.