Winter illnesses circulating in community

Winter has arrived in Hawke’s Bay bringing influenza and other bugs into the community.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Bridget Wilson said today getting the flu jab, staying home if unwell, testing for COVID-19 and practising healthy habits was the best way to protect yourself and your whānau from illness.

“While 40,569* people in Hawke’s Bay have already had their flu jab, we’d like to encourage whānau and friends to get theirs as soon as possible,” said Dr Wilson.

“Influenza symptoms come on suddenly and it can keep you in bed for a week or more. It can give you pneumonia and in severe cases means a hospital stay, or even death.

“It is especially important pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions get their free flu jab as they are more likely to become seriously ill from influenza.”

The flu jab is free for many people including pregnant women, all tamariki aged 6 months to 12 years, Māori and Pasifika people aged 55 and over, everyone aged 65 and over and people with long-term medical conditions.

Dr Wilson said COVID-19 was also still circulating in the community, with 1,120* cases reported in the past month.

“With winter upon us, it’s also important to develop a winter plan for you and your whānau so family members know what to do if people become unwell.

“Preparing a Winter Wellness Kit is also helpful. Items might include painkillers, a thermometer, tissues, cold and flu medications and enough food and household items for a few days

“If you’re caring for someone at home with flu, there are also some useful practical tips here on danger signs to watch out for, especially when caring for babies and young children/tamariki.

Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay Chief Nursing Officer, Karyn Bousfield-Black, said while many people would be able to manage cold, flu and COVID-19 illness at home, it was important people sought health care if they needed it.

“Seeking advice about your health care early can avoid situations becoming an emergency.

“If it is not an emergency, please make your GP, or Healthline on 0800 611-116 your first port of call where you can speak with a registered nurse 24/7.

“Please only present to the hospital’s emergency department when it’s an emergency, as priority will always be given to those with life-threatening conditions.”

Ms Bousfield said various 24/7 services for mental health and wellbeing support were also readily available for those who were struggling or needing support.

“Remember it’s okay to ask for help. Free help is available by texting 1737 anytime of the day or night. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357.  Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay’s Emergency Mental Health service can also be contacted day or night on 0800 112 334.”



For more information contact:
Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay Media team – Ph: 027-599-9507

For a full list of where you can get immunised go to:

Alternatively, book your flu and COVID-19 vaccines now at, call Healthline on 0800 28 29 26, or contact your GP, pharmacy or Hauora provider.

Note: the Influenza vaccination total is for this season up to 25 June, while the COVID-19 numbers reported are from 26 May to 25 June 2023.




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