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Influenza season is declared over

With a constant decline in influenza-like-illness Waikato director of public health Dr Anita Bell has declared the winter influenza season over.

While still circulating in New Zealand the number of cases we are seeing in the Waikato and nationally has decreased considerably over the last few weeks, said Dr Bell

Under the Waikato District Health Board vaccination policy the end of influenza season also means staff who are not vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in patient care locations.

Despite the influenza vaccine no longer been available and the season declared as over, Dr Bell still said people need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of influenza.Flu symptoms

“It is important that people are still aware of the signs and symptoms of Influenza and see medical advice if required.”

Influenza is a potentially serious viral infection that’s much worse than a cold.  Although some of the symptoms are the same, influenza is usually much more severe.

“Influenza can be severe enough to require hospital treatment, particularly in the very young, elderly, and in people who already have health problems,” said Bell.

Influenza will affect up to one in five New Zealanders every year and approximately 400 deaths each year in New Zealand are related to influenza infection.

The virus spreads easily and hand-hygiene and cough etiquette are effective ways to reduce the spread, but the vaccine remains the most proven way to ward of the flu.

If you feel unwell you can help reduce the spread of the virus by:

Stay at home if you are unwell.

Cover your cough or sneeze using disposable tissues.

Regularly wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, and then dry your hands with a clean dry towel or paper towel.

Contact your GP or local medical centre to get the influenza vaccine.  Further information on general hygiene and influenza can be found at:

          0800 IMMUNE – 0800 466 863

          Healthline – 0800 611 116

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