The Health Service Executive has said there is no cause for alarm following the death of a toddler from the the H1N1 flu virus at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin yesterday.
A spokesperson said that, sadly, a number of small children do not survive the virus each year.
Speaking to Newstalk, Director for Public Health with the HSE, Dr Kevin Kelleher confirmed that the child, believed to have been transferred in critical condition from the west of Ireland, was a “toddler and wasn’t a teenager”.
Mr Kelleher also said there have been “nine or 10 direct deaths” from swine flu this winter.
As influenza rates are expected to continue rising for at least two weeks, the HSE encouraged the public to get the vaccine, which covers the current strain of the virus. This advice is particularly pertinent to pregnant women, who are more likely to get complications from flu due to changes in their heart and lung function.
Getting flu in pregnancy may also lead to premature birth and smaller birth weight. The seasonal flu vaccine will also provide protection for your baby for up to six months after birth and can be given at any stage of pregnancy.
A total of 344 people have been hospitalised so far this with the largest age group under 12 months old. Elderly people are also more at risk.
Symptoms include high temperature, sore muscles, a headache and cough and sore throat. It’s important to note that ‘Flu comes on more suddenly than the common cold so you’ll feel the symptoms faster.
Suffering from ‘Flu? The advice is to stay at home, drink plenty of liquids and use over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol in the short term.
If your symptoms worsen, contact your GP