Jan 16, 2019
We all know the tell-tale signs: fever, cough, body aches, runny nose, and chills. During this time of year, these symptoms typically mean the flu.
If you're over the age of 65, protecting yourself from the flu is serious business. As we age, our immune systems weaken, making it harder to fight illnesses like the flu. In fact, those over the age of 65 are more likely to be hospitalised or die from the flu.
The flu vaccine is free if you are in an at risk group but you may be charged a consultation fee, unless you have a medical card or a GP visit card. At risk groups include:
- are 65 years of age and over
- are pregnant
- have a long-term health condition
- work in healthcare
- are a carer
- live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
Caregivers are also at high risk for getting the flu, and if not vaccinated can easily spread it. The flu virus can be spread starting one day before symptoms are even present. Vaccination for caregivers is critical in the effort to keep themselves healthy, but also to keep those they care for healthy.
Regardless of your age, it's also a good idea to remember cover your coughs, wash your hands often and avoid those who are ill. If you start to notice those tell-tale symptoms, call your doctor immediately – there may be medications to help.
For more information, check out the HSE's website here.