Feeling unwell? Seek help early

If you start to feel unwell this winter, seek medical help early before your symptoms get worse – that’s the advice from Hawke’ Bay District Health Board.

Chief Medical & Dental Officer – Hospital, Dr John Gommans, said cold weather increased the severity of illness like asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis.

“Infections are more easily spread to children and older people who are more susceptible to illness that affect people’s breathing - so we really want to encourage people if they are feeling sick to see their doctor before their symptoms get worse,” said Dr Gommans.

“Early treatment, particularly in children and older people, can help prevent the need for hospital care, so please check on elderly neighbours or family members, make sure they are keeping warm and well, and if they are having breathing difficulties, see a doctor as soon as possible,” he said.

People could also call Healthline, 0800 611 116, to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr Gommans said it was also not too late to get the flu shot to try and beat the bugs this winter.

A new updated vaccine covers four flu strains and is better matched against the Aussie Flu strain known as AH3N2 which severely impacted communities in the Northern Hemisphere.

People could get the flu shot from their doctor and some selected pharmacies and it was free for people at higher risk of becoming unwell.  These include:

  • Pregnant women,
  • People aged 65 years or older
  • People aged under 65 years with chronic health conditions including diabetes and most heart or lung conditions
  • Children aged 4 years or under who have had a stay in hospital for asthma or other breathing problems.

It can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to provide the best influenza protection.   For more information about the flu vaccination, visit www.fightflu.co.nz or the www.ourhealthhb.nz.


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