Keeping players flu strong could make all the difference to a successful rugby season for the Crusaders. The team received their flu vaccination after a training session this week and coach Todd Blackadder says the flu vaccine can help the guys stay on top of their game.
"You need to do whatever you can to make sure you stay healthy. During the rugby season there's no time to be sick, and nothing less than 100 percent will do."
"Trusting luck and hoping the flu passes us by just isn't an option. The flu shot is a no-brainer for the Crusaders and that's why the team choose to get immunised every year. One quick scratch and it's over – the players cop a whole lot worse on the field." The Crusaders are supporting Canterbury DHB's 'flu strong' message by encouraging others to get vaccinated. "Canterbury needs to look after itself, now more than ever. If you are already finding things hard, flu is the last thing you'll need this winter - don't take a punt on your health, get your flu shot and get flu strong," Todd says. Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says even the toughest athletes need help to fend off flu. "Influenza is not a cold, it's a serious and highly infectious disease that will take you 'out of the game' for a week or more." Dr Pink says.
"Even if you are fit and healthy, flu can still make you very ill. It's not just about looking after number one either, it's about protecting the more vulnerable members of our community." Older people and pre-schoolers are most vulnerable to flu as well as people who are chronically ill. "We also strongly advise pregnant mums to get the flu vaccination so their baby has some protection when he or she is born." Each year, the influenza vaccine contains the strains expected to circulate in New Zealand, which is why it's important to get vaccinated every year as part of preparing to stay well through the winter. It's free for under 18s in Canterbury, pregnant women, people 65 and over, and people who have chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or mental illness. To get immunised, simply contact your General Practice team for advice. "If you can't get it free, it'll typically cost $30-50 which is perhaps the best investment you'll ever make. Why not call your general practice now, the sooner you get your flu shot the sooner you, and those around you, will be protected."
If you risk getting flu and do get sick, don't spread influenza, stay at home and consult your GP for advice on getting through it, or download "Coping with flu at home" from www.fluinfo.org.nz
If you are worried that your symptoms are unusually severe, call your normal General Practice Team number any time of day or night. Out of hours, a registered nurse will be able to advise you what to do.
In an emergency, always call 111.
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