Tis the season for sneezin
By JANE GARDNER email@example.com
IT BEGINS with feeling a bit off-colour, and then before you know it, you're bedridden for a week. It's flu season again, and new State Health Minister Reba Meagher has released a warning to at-risk groups not to take their chances this year. For young people and the elderly, the flu can be deadly, she said. "Already we have had reports of the potential for a serious influenza outbreak in Australia and it is important that not only our health system ? but individuals ? are prepared," Ms Meagher said. "Every year in NSW thousands of people come down with the flu, and it is the elderly and chronically ill who are more likely to be seriously affected. "While most people suffer aches and pains, people can die from the disease and its complications," she continued. "Those especially at risk are people over 65 and people with an underlying heart, chest or metabolic illness ? but a flu shot can provide important protection for everyone in our community." Ms Meagher said the NSW Government's winter public awareness campaign, which began yesterday, would help raise awareness of the danger of the flu through newspaper and radio. Every year in NSW, up to 700,000 people catch flu. In Lismore it puts a strain on the Lismore Base Hospital's emergency ward as an influx of elderly patients suffering the flu stretches the hospital's resources to capacity.