Staff and visitors no longer required to wear protective masks, if they are not vaccinated against influenza.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Felicity Dumble, has officially declared the Waikato influenza season over. Staff and visitors are no longer required to wear protective masks if they are not vaccinated against influenza.
“The number of influenza viruses circulating locally and nationally has reached the threshold for determining the end of the 2017 influenza season. However, a number of other respiratory viruses are still circulating and this is one of the reasons why our Emergency Departments are still busy. So we continue to encourage good cough and cold etiquette and personal hygiene,” said Dr Dumble.
“It is particularly important to control the spread of infectious disease in the hospital which has seen record numbers of patients over recent months.”
We would like to thank all staff and visitors for responding to the call to either be vaccinated or wear protective masks during the flu season.
The influenza vaccine is still available nationally.
It is important that people are still aware of the signs and symptoms of Influenza and see medical advice if required. Influenza is a potentially serious viral infection that’s much worse than a cold. Although some of the symptoms are the same, influenza is usually much more severe.
“Influenza can be severe enough to require hospital treatment, particularly in the very young, elderly, and in people who already have health problems,” said Dr Dumble.
Influenza will affect up to one in five New Zealanders every year and approximately 400 deaths each year in New Zealand are related to influenza infection. The virus spreads easily and hand hygiene and cough etiquette are effective ways to reduce the spread, but the vaccine remains the most proven way to ward of the flu.
If you feel unwell you can help reduce the spread of the virus by:
- Stay at home if you are unwell.
- Cover your cough or sneeze using disposable tissues.
- Regularly wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, and then dry your hands with a clean dry towel or paper towel.
- Contact your GP or local medical centre to get the influenza vaccine. Further information on general hygiene and influenza can be found at:
- 0800 IMMUNE – 0800 466 863
- Healthline – 0800 611 116