Dromore to fight flu as winter approaches

In the run-up to this year’s annual Dromore Surgery Flu Day on Saturday (October 12) Dr Eileen Atchison has highlighted the success of the event to date and flagged up some important changes.

The event will run from 8.30am to 1pm in the Bowling Pavilion beside Dromore Community Centre.

The surgery is excited about two major changes this year, with a new shingles vaccination introduced for the first time and the extension of the flu vaccination to children aged two and three.

“Few people realise just how debilitating the after effects of shingles can be,” said Dr Atchison. “It can really affect your quality of life. Postherpetic neuralgia is a nerve pain that persists after a shingles rash has cleared, so the important thing is to prevent shingles in the first place.

“This is really a very important vaccination to get and it is a safe and positive step in reducing distress and discomfort in older patients. The new shingles vaccination is available this year for people aged 70, and hopefully this will be extended.

“The group targeted for flu vaccination has now also been broadened to include children aged two and three. What’s great about this vaccination though, is that it’s not an injection. It’s a nasal spray which causes less discomfort to administer and is also more easily absorbed this way. It’s hoped this vaccination will be extended by 2014 to all healthy children aged 2-17.”

The surgery is urging everyone eligible for vaccinations to make every effort to attend, with the exception of the “truly housebound” who will receive their flu jabs from the District Nursing Service.

With the message ‘Flu is more serious than you think’, the campaign generally targets all people over 65 years as well as all patients of any age in nursing homes, residential homes or long-stay institutions along with a number of other ‘at-risk’ groups.

A few years ago the surgery was disappointed to lose community funding for the Busy Bus which brought people to and from the pavilion; however, Dr Atchison said it hadn’t caused a decline in numbers.

“People are very good at sharing lifts and making sure everyone in the community who needs to attend is brought,” she said.“Numbers have grown every year and all in all the flu day has become something of a social event, with a happy atmosphere and a chance for those attending to meet and have a chat with others in the same age band.

“As ever, the local Red Cross will be in attendance serving tea and biscuits and we’re also very grateful to the PSNI for managing the traffic flow.”