Monday 20 November 2017

Warning: vaccination scare stories can kill you

Anybody who is at risk should do what they can to protect themselves and get the flu jab, says Carol Hunt

It was when the father-in-law offered me a post-Christmas drink and I refused it -- a rare occurrence -- that I knew something was up. That, and the fact that my throat was raw, my head thumping and every bone in my body aching. I excused myself, headed to bed and pretty much stayed there until it was time to return to Dublin (they live in Galway).

Thankfully they excused my unsociable behaviour. Was it the dreaded swine flu (H1N1) or just post-Christmas exhaustion? From my utter inability to move, read or sleep, I guessed it was the former. Had I not availed of the flu vaccination? Of course not. A visit to my GP would have cost €60, and in these cash-strapped times, a flu jab for something I may not actually get would be an unnecessary luxury. But both my children had received it last year in school though, and neither succumbed to my potentially dangerous virus. Others have not been so lucky.

So far this season, 573 people have been hospitalised because of swine flu and 52 remain in intensive-care units. (Current HSE statistics).

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