Surge in flu cases in Longford as winter sets in

'Aussie Flu' hits Ireland

Jessica Thompson


Jessica Thompson


Dr Padraig McGarry

Dr Padraig McGarry

There has been a surge in the number of patients presenting to GPs all over the country with flu-like illnesses, according to local GP and Chairman of the IMO GP Committee, Dr Padraig McGarry.

The dominant strain of the virus in Ireland at the moment is the same one that hit Australia during its last winter.
The flue claimed the lives of 300 of people in Australia, earning it the nickname 'Aussie Flu'.

Only months later, as the flu hits Ireland, hospital and GP waiting rooms are seeing an influx in patients presenting with the flu.

Cases of swine flu and the B strain have also been detected in Ireland.

“Most people who are well should be able to get over it themselves by taking something like ibuprofen,” Dr McGarry explained to the Leader last week.

“But some will require more treatment, such as the elderly, pregnant women, or those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes.”

The HSE has warned that the deadly H3N2 virus could spark the worst flu outbreak in the country in 50 years and, ahead of the reopening of schools on Monday, Irish people were warned to keep their children home if they were showing any flu-like symptoms.

“Symptoms for the flu aren’t just sniffles and coughing, though you will often have those too, combined with a high temperature,” Dr McGarry explained.

“Flu symptoms are things like shivers or chills, aches and pains - you’re flattened with it. It’s much more severe than sniffles and a cough.

“And the advice if you do have any of those symptoms would be to stay home, because if you go to school or work, you’ll share that virus with others.

“If you feel you have symptoms, you should consult and that’s a great resource.

“If you are concerned, ring your GP and talk to a nurse, and if you feel you need further care, your doctor will see you.”

The HSE has been providing the annual flu vaccine for those at risk of contracting the virus.

“The annual vaccine contains both the A and B strain flu virus, which are the current strains running at the moment,” said Dr McGarry.

“We’ve been giving it out since September and early October to the elderly and those at risk.

“If you haven’t received the vaccine, it’s not too late to get it. It takes a week to ten days to set in.”

People in ‘at risk’ groups such as pregnant women or those over the age of 65 can get the flu vaccine itself free of charge.

This is because they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, and may need specific treatment or hospital care.

For more information on the flue vaccine, visit