As we approach the winter season, the risk of a flu epidemic looms over us. Flu (influenza) is caused by a virus organism. Most individuals with a robust immune system are able to fight this off within a few days. However, the symptoms of flu are variable and can result in severe body ache, cough, temperature and runny nose, resulting in lost days from work or education.
Flu particularly affects the young and elderly in a more severe manner and, in some cases, can tragically lead to death. It is estimated that in the winter of 2008/09, there were an additional 36,700 deaths in England and Wales. Approximately 150 million working days are lost each year due to flu related illness.
Flu vaccinations are widely available. The vaccination helps to reduce the severity of the infection. For 2010, the vaccine will protect against three strains of flu virus including the H1N1 virus. It is particularly recommended for:
- All those over the age of sixty-five.
- Those considered at risk, i.e. those suffering from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease and other chronic conditions.
- Pregnant women
At Lotus Healthcare, we offer flu vaccination programmes for individuals and companies. The benefits are obvious in terms of reduced days’ loss from work and reduced complications.
Lotus Healthcare also offers the pneumococcal vaccination which protects against infection from streptococcus pneumonia. This organism can cause serious lung infections (pneumonia), septicaemia i.e. widespread blood-borne infection and meningitis (infection of the brain lining). The pneumococcal vaccination is strongly recommended for those considered to be at high risk and is offered at Lotus Healthcare. It is normally given once in a lifetime except for those without a spleen, or a diseased spleen, where a booster is recommended every five years.