Short jab can knock out the flu

Nambour nurse Lyn Dekker gives Bridgette Simpson the flu jab.
Nambour nurse Lyn Dekker gives Bridgette Simpson the flu jab. Greg Miller

YOUNG people suffering from asthma, heart problems, kidney troubles or diabetes have a general "false optimism" when it comes to battling the flu each year.

Influenza Specialist Group's Dr Simon Bowler said those under the age of 65 with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza were neglecting the annual jab - and it could cost them their lives.

Dr Bowler has called on vulnerable Sunshine Coast residents to act now to help reduce the severity of flu season, expected to peak in south-east Queensland around July, August and September.

"They generally don't go for vaccines. They think they don't need the shot because they're feeling okay," Dr Bowler said.

"They don't understand the potential severity of influenza.

"It's a tricky condition. Most people get a minor illness from it and it puts them out of action but they make a short recovery. But people with other medical conditions can become really sick from it."

The group estimated there were 1500 deaths, 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP consultations annually in Australia due to influenza.

Dr Bowler said it was important to think about protection in the next month or so.

Dr Bowler said women who would be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during flu season were strongly recommended to get a flu shot now.

Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association president Dr Wayne Herdy said the world was overdue for an influenza pandemic, but could not say if 2012 was the date.

"We haven't had one for the past 10 years," Dr Herdy said.

"Sooner or later, it's going to happen."



UNDER the Immunise Australia Program, influenza vaccination is recommended as part of routine vaccinations for older Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people over 15 years of age, pregnant women and individuals aged six months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza (cardiac disease, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic neurological conditions, impaired immunity and children aged six months to 10 years on long-term aspirin therapy).

Topics:  immunisation influenza

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