April usually marks the start of the influenza season. Influenza, commonly called the flu, can be a serious illness that is sometimes fatal.
Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with flu each year. Many people won’t feel sick at all but can still pass it on and make others feel very sick.
The flu can have a big impact on work plans. It spreads quickly from person to person and symptoms include fever, chills, aches, runny nose, a cough and stomach upset.
The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to have a flu shot every year. With the COVID-19 crisis, flu shots are being given to those most vulnerable first, so check with your GP as to whether you qualify or when flu shots might be available for you, or are available to be administered in your workplace.
See Wellplace's immunisation and outbreak resource page for information and images you can use to encourage your people to get immunised against a range of diseases, including the flu.
Also see our Fight the Flu resources, including an image you can use for electronic communications, a downloadable poster, and two flu prevention articles you can use in your workplace communications - one for workplaces with outdoor workers, and another for indoor workers.
NZ Immunisation Week
NZ Immunisation Week, which had been planned for the first week of May, has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The decision was taken so health workers can put their efforts into dealing with the virus, and because some activities around Immunisation Week don't comply with alert restrictions.
However, you may wish to use the time to further encourage your people to get their flu shots, and check that their children are up to date with their vaccination schedule.
General immunisation information can be found on the HPA's immunisation page, including messages promoting on-time immunisation for babies and young children.
Vaccinations during pregnancy
If you have pregnant women at work, consider promoting the immunisations available to them - particularly the flu vaccine before the winter peak.
Pregnant women who immunise themselves against whooping cough and the flu can help protect their baby by passing their immunity onto their baby. These vaccines are free and proven to be safe.
Download and share this pamphlet about immunising during pregnancy.
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