Deadly flu could kill 1,000 Irish people this winter warn doctors

Doctors have warned today that a bad flu season could see up to 1,000 people die in Ireland this winter.

Speaking today at the launch of the HSE flu awareness campaign, experts said that this year could see a particularly high number of flu deaths - writes

Dr Kevin Kelleher, HSE Assistant National Director for Health Protection, said that while it is difficult to predict just how bad a flu outbreak can be, this year is expected to hit hard.

Approximately 200-500 people die from influenza in Ireland a year.

The HSE are encouraging people to get their flu vaccines to help prevent the outbreak of the virus from being too severe.

Dr Kelleher said that due to the unpredictability of the flu, we could be facing a bad season and that it was advisable to get the flu vaccine where possible.

The flu vaccine fights three strains of influenza that are recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO)as the strains most likely to be active this season.

You can get your flu vaccine from September from you GP or local pharmacy.

It can be free for patients at high risk, but generally only costs €15.

People at high risk are urged to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible, according to the HSE website, these include:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • pregnant women
  • people who suffer from a long-term health condition
  • healthcare workers
  • carers
  • residents of nursing home or other long-term care facilities
  • people who are in contact with pigs or poultry

Dr Kelleher particularly urged all healthcare workers to get the vaccine as they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

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