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Influenza

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A FLU VACCINATION THIS YEAR?

CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO BE PROTECTED?

Influenza can cause problems for individuals patients, but also for businesses, with staff shortages, key positions not covered and expensive bank staff. Influenza related illness accounts for the loss of more than 150 million working days per year.

Epidemics of influenza typically occur during the winter months. Flu, is a viral infection caused by the influenza virus. It's passed on when people breathe in liquid droplets containing the virus that have been sneezed or coughed into the air, or when people touch objects contaminated with the virus. The symptoms, which include fever, headache, cough, sore throat and muscle aches, appear quickly. It affects patients of all ages.

Most patients suffer a nasty illness, but recover completely. Possible complications include pneumonia, which often needs hospital treatment, especially in patients with underlying chest disease. Flu is most common between January and March. Anyone can get the flu and the more a person is in close contact with people who have the virus, the more likely they are to get it.

Unfortunately, influenza infection produces little future protection, and so vaccination is the only effective prevention. There is a safe and effective vaccine against the flu. WHO scientists work hard to predict the virus types each year.

Last year The Health Station gave over 4000 flu vaccinations to individuals, local businesses and teachers.

The Health Station offer the Flu vaccinations, commencing the first week in October each year. Discounts are available for volume vaccinations. Nurses can come out to your premises, if appropriate, and vaccinate groups.

Tamiflu

Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) can be used to treat influenza. It belongs to the group of medicines called neuraminidase-blockers. Neuraminidase is a protein of the virus, which is important for the reproduction of the virus. Tamiflu blocks this enzyme and hence limits a further infection of the body. By doing so, it allows the immune system to more effectively attack the virus. This results in a shorter period of illness and milder symptoms.

Influenza is highly contagious and can spread easily through a population. In the case of a mutated Avian Bird Flu virus, that can cross-contaminate humans, there is the risk of a pandemic outbreak of the illness. In this case the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the use of Tamiflu as an anti-viral medication which will help alleviate symptoms until an effective vaccine is found.