Influenza is a potentially serious viral infection that’s much worse than a cold. Influenza comes on suddenly with a fever or chills, sore throat, dry cough, headaches, fatigue, body aches and pains. Influenza is easily spread and anyone can catch it. It is passed on by droplets when people cough and sneeze and touch infected surfaces.
Immunisation is the best protection from influenza, and the best way to prevent its spread.
Flu vaccine is available and free for those with higher risk of serious illness (that is, everyone aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and adults or children with certain long term or serious medical conditions) so call your GP or health centre to arrange an immunisation appointment.
Hand hygiene is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of reducing the spread of colds, influenza and other winter illnesses.
- wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds;
- dry hands with a clean, dry towel or paper towel for 20 seconds.
Keep your home warm and dry to stay healthy during the colder months
- Stay warm and dry, and keep your home well ventilated and heated.
Influenza can affect anyone, causing symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and pains - and sometimes also vomiting. Most people recover uneventfully after an unpleasant week or so, but a few will develop complications such as pneumonia.
What can you do?
- Get the influenza vaccination from your nurse or doctor, even if you are fit and healthy
- Cover your cough when coughing or sneezing and then wash your hands
- Always use disposable tissues and stay at home when you are sick
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water and dry your hands with a clean dry towel or paper towel
Free immunisation is available now for those most at risk of influenza complications.
- Pregnant women (any trimester)
- People aged 65 years and older
- Māori and Pacific aged 55 and over
- People aged under 65 years with certain medical conditions
- Children aged 4 years or under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness
Like many employers, the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards offer free immunisation for all of their health workers.
Or for more information contact your doctor or practice nurse, visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre website or phone 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).
If you or your family members are unwell
If you or your family members are unwell:
Help prevent the spread of colds, influenza and other winter illnesses to others – stay at home, and away from work or school until you are feeling better.
Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or coughing or sneezing into your elbow.
Remember free health advice from a registered nurse is just a phone call away – phone Healthline on 0800 611 116