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Get your flu vaccinations, urges department

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The Western Cape Health department has put in place plans to distribute 100 000 influenza vaccinations at clinic across the province to prevent people from getting the virus during the winter season.

The initiative forms part of the work between the national government and the provincial government which focuses on creating these preventative measures in order to ensure people’s well-being and good health.

“We believe as the western cape provincial government and the department of health that prevention is also better than cure so it is easier and better to deal with potential illnesses before they arrive and before people present with them at clinics,” explains Luyanda Mfeka, spokesperson for the Western Cape health department.

Vaccinations will be distributed at local clinics spread out throughout the province and will be available at local clinics and local public health facilities.

“Health facility staff and health professionals have identified certain areas such as old age homes as places where vulnerable people reside and places where we can focus on providing this service, but you should be able to access this service at your local clinic,” says Mfeka.

“It must be said though that there are always limited resources for this kind of service so while we are unable to provide the service to every single person we hope to identify relatively vulnerable to provide them with this service.”

The vaccines are particularly targeted at vulnerable people as well as children aged six months to under five years, residents of old age homes, persons aged 65 and older and pregnant women

“We are also looking at adults and children who are at risk of acquiring flu related complications because of underlying medical conditions,” Mfeka went further.

As part of their media announcement, the WC health department posted these questions for the convenience of the public.

How do you get flu?

The flu virus spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are close by. You can also catch flu by touching a surface or an object that has flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of influenza?• Sudden onset of fever;
• Acute upper respiratory symptoms: dry cough, sore throat;
• General symptoms: malaise, headache, fatigue, muscle pain and body aches , cold shivers and hot sweats; and
• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhoea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Who is at risk of developing complications?
-Pregnant women, and including the 2 week period after delivery
-Young children (<2 years old)
-Elderly people (>65 years of age)
-People with existing chronic diseases (heart, lung, kidney, endocrine) for example diabetes or asthma, persons who   are immunosuppressed
– Morbidly obese people (BMI ≥40 or BMI≥35 with obesity related health conditions).
– People ≤18 years of age receiving chronic aspirin therapy.

VOC (Umarah Hartely]

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