ICU doctor issues grim warning about Influenza

WITH this month's launch of the National Influenza Vaccination Program, members of the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters have taken to social media to urge people to become "flu fighters".

NSW Health recommends the vaccine for anyone aged over six months.

The flu shot is now available from GPs and some chemists. It is free for people over 65, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5, Aboriginal people over 15, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza.

Administrators of the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters have taken to their Facebook page to urge people to have the vaccine.

"We are ‪#flufighters‬, are you? The NRVS admin team make informed choices about vaccinations," they posted.

"We know the risks of influenza, and we know that getting a flu shot every year is the safest and most effective way to protect ourselves, our families, and our community from the disease."

Rachel, an "NRVS admin and ‪#flufighter‬", posted on the Facebook page that during her 20 years as an intensive care unit doctor, she had looked after "countless people" with influenza.

"Over and over and over again I have heard worried families and patients say to me: 'I had no idea influenza could be so bad' ... 'but they were are always so healthy' ... 'they never even get colds!' ... 'they've never had the flu before'," Rachel wrote.

"Influenza can, and does, kill otherwise healthy people (and children) every year.

"I know from more than the scientific papers; sadly I've seen it with my own eyes, with monotonous regularity and all too often.

"What still astonishes me is why anyone would think just because they have never had it before that they are somehow miraculously protected, or just because you haven't had a cold for years that renders you somehow immune from influenza."

For more information about the flu shot, visit NSW Health's website.



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