Campaign aims to prevent repeat of flu epidemic

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Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies is encouraging locals to get a flu shot this year. Photo: Melinda Jane

A $1.75 million NSW Government campaign to tackle the flu season has launched in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s influenza epidemic.

Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies said the flu is an illness that needs to be treated seriously.

“650 people died from the flu last year. We all can take simple steps to reduce the risk of spreading the illness,” she said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the campaign focuses on four simple measures to beat the bug, which affected more than 128,000 people in NSW last year.

“The Don’t Spread Flu – It’s In Your Hands campaign has some straightforward messages on how to limit the spread of influenza and help save lives,” he said.

“Get your flu shot early, cough into your elbow not your hands, wash your hands regularly and stay at home if you are sick.”

NSW Health’s Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said frequent hand washing is one of the first lines of defence against the flu, together with early vaccination.

“The World Health Organisation advises this year’s flu vaccine will be a better match to the four circulating strains and offer higher protection than last year,” Dr Chant said.

Flu shots are free for pregnant women, children up to six years of age and people over 65 years of age, Aboriginal people and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems.

Flu shots will be available in April.

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.

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