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It's not too late to get the flu jab - epidemiologist

We're heading towards the end of winter and influenza season, so is it too late to get vaccinated?

On Weekend Breakfast, Africa Melane chats to Dr Sibongile Walaza, medical epidemiologist at the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID).

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Dr Walaza believes the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu jab at the beginning of the season, but that it can still be advisable at this point.

Even though we're in the middle of the season we still encourage people to go and get the vaccine, because if you still have the influenza virus circulating in the community people can still get infected, especially those who are at increased risk of severe disease.

Dr Sibongile Walaza, Medical epidemiologist - NCID Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis

It is important that people prevent transmission, for those who are infected to stay at home so that they don't pass it on to other people.

Dr Sibongile Walaza, Medical epidemiologist - NCID Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis

Practise good hygiene - wash your hands with soap, if you're coughing then just cover the cough whether it's with a tissue or elbow... the virus is spread by just being in contact with it.

Dr Sibongile Walaza, Medical epidemiologist - NCID Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis

Dr Walaza points out that antibiotics won't help a viral infection like flu, but can be appropriate if the sufferer picks up a secondary bacterial infection.

In those cases an antibiotic may be justified but in the majority of the cases it is not required. A viral infection is not going to respond to antibiotics.

Dr Sibongile Walaza, Medical epidemiologist - NCID Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis

For more from Dr Walaza, listen here:


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