HSE Statement on Influenza

February 5th 2016

The HSE wishes to offer its condolences to the family of a child who tragically died having contracted influenza. The child, who is from outside of Dublin, died in a Dublin Hospital in the past  week. All of the Paediatric hospitals and units throughout the country would like to reassure patients and families that they are fully operational during this flu season and, if children have appointments, they should attend as scheduled.

The hospitals always apply strict infection control practices and in particular during peak periods of community acquired flu.

It is important to attend your hospital for any of your appointments.  Please help us by complying with infection control procedures, especially hand hygiene, while visiting the hospital.

The H1N1 flu virus, previously known as swine flu, is now a seasonal flu virus that circulates worldwide.  The H1N1 strain has been included in the seasonal flu vaccine in Ireland since the 2010/2011 influenza season.

The HSE provides the flu and pneumococcal vaccine free of charge for all those in the at-risk groups.

The following groups of at-risk people need to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza:

•             Everyone aged 65 years and over

•             Anyone over six months of age with a long term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes or those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment

•             Pregnant women

•             Children or teenagers on long-term aspirin therapy

•             Residents of nursing homes and other long stay facilities

Those who have not got a vaccine at this stage are encouraged to make an appointment with their GP or Pharmacist as soon as possible as the vaccine covers the virus that is around at the moment.

The ILI flu rates continue to rise and are expected to do so for 1 to 2 more weeks.

If you get the symptoms of flu you should stay at home look after yourself and get in touch with a GP if you think your condition is getting worse. Further information for managing flu symptoms can be found at http://undertheweather.ie/ailment/flu

Last updated on: 05 / 02 / 2016