Bathurst Hospital is urging people to get their vaccination for the flu this year by making an appointment to see their local GP.
“Vaccination is your best protection against the flu, so we encourage you and your loved ones to get vaccinated against this deadly infection this winter," Infection Prevention & Control Clinical Nurse Consultant, Linda Thomas said.
“Now is the best time to have the flu vaccine to ensure your protection doesn't wane before the flu season peaks. The vaccine takes two weeks to be fully effective."
“Flu vaccines are now available at most GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services and, for children under five years of age, from council and community centres that routinely provide vaccination services."
Free flu shots are available to members of the community who are pregnant, people over 65 years of age, most Aboriginal people and those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems.
Vaccination is very important to prevent the flu, but the following steps also help prevent the spread of influenza:
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Clean your hands
- Stay at home when sick
- Keep your children home when they are sick
“If you have a cough or other flu symptoms, please don't visit the Hospital – you may be putting other people at risk," Linda said.
“If your visit is not urgent, please consider visiting on another day when you are feeling better, or if urgent, please cover your face when you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based rubs are also provided at Bathurst Hospital to clean your hands as you enter the facility, so please take advantage of these."
The Western NSW Local Health District will be implementing its winter plans for local hospitals, which include procedures for allocating additional resources during periods of high demand, providing free flu vaccinations for frontline health staff and promoting good hygiene practices that help fight the spread of flu.
“The World Health Organization advises this year's flu vaccine will be a better match to the four circulating strains and offer higher protection than last year. We urge everyone to get the flu jab to build our immunity in the community and beat the flu bug this winter – it could save your life," Linda said.
The NSW Government will spend a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2017-18, including $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age to boost protection against flu in our communities.
For more information about influenza, see the NSW Health website.