Information on Influenza:
Influenza can be a severe and sometimes life threatening infection that causes epidemics every year during the winter months in New Zealand.
Influenza can hit anyone - being fit and healthy will not protect you from influenza. Influenza is much more serious than the common cold, and is caused by a highly contagious virus.
Immunisation is your best form of defence against influenza.
General health measures are also important ways of preventing infection. These include
- regular handwashing with soap and water
- Cover your cough and dispose of used tissues properly
- Stay home when you are sick,
- Regular cleaning of frequently used surfaces
The H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic influenza that emerged last year is likely to be the main strain of influenza in 2010.
Most people will recover at home from influenza, without needing medical attention. However if you believe you need to visit your family doctor or medical centre, please contact your local practice first and explain your symptoms before turning up.
Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing influenza, therefore this year's seasonal influenza vaccination immunises people against the H1N1 virus as well as another two influenza strains.
The Annual Vaccination
The annual vaccination is available to everyone from your General Practice or other health professional. The vaccine is available from March through until the end of June.
The vaccine is free for some groups of people.
Usually the free immunisation focuses on those over 65 years of age, however this year more people have been identified as being at risk of developing serious complications from the H1N1 Influenza virus. At risk groups include pregnant woman, those people aged under 65 years of age with underlying chronic illness, children under 5 and those with Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 35.
Therefore eligibility for the free immunisation has been extended to these groups for 2010, as well as those aged over 65.
Influenza immunisation is available FREE for those who:
- are pregnant (Click here for Important Information for Pregnant Women about Pandemic Influenza (Swine Flu))
- are significantly overweight
- children aged 6 months to their fifth birthday thought to be high risk
- use asthma preventers
- have diabetes
- are aged 65 years or over
- have heart disease
- have kidney problems
- or have a serious medical condition, like cancer
Everyone else can access the vaccine for a small charge at their General Practice. For more information about influenza and the influenza vaccine, please visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre Influenza website or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or call your local General Practice.
Influenza immunisation in a variety of languages
Click the links below to download information on:
Flu Vaccine Brochure Chinese
Flu Vaccine Brochure Cook Island Maori
Flu Vaccine Brochure Korean
Flu Vaccine Brochure Maori
Flu Vaccine Brochure Samoan
Flu Vaccine Brochure Tongan