Staff reporter
PEOPLE over 65 years of age and children suffering from respiratory conditions should be vaccinated against flu either this month or next. The recommmendation was made yesterday by the Madrid based Society for the Study of Pneumonia and Thoracic Surgery (Neumomadrid). The Society emphasized that the threat is not so much from the flu itself but the physical complications that can arise from it.
Neumomadrid confirmed in a communiqué that people over 65 who are particularly vulnerable are those with chronic respiratory conditions, and those who remain in enclosed institutions, such as hospitals or old people's homes. This section of society forms part of a “high risk” group for which a bout of the flu could cause serious complications. Similarly, the vaccination is strongly recommended for children with chronic metabolic illnesses, or those with heart or lung disorders. Also at risk are groups who are potential carriers of the flu, such as doctors or people who are caring for high risk groups. Doctor José Gallardo Carrasco, an expert in respiratory infections and a member of Neumomadrid, stressed the need for taking precaution because “the course that flu takes through the body can trigger secondary effects that can prove fatal”. He pointed out that a flu vaccine is estimated to be only 80 percent effective owing to the capacity of the virus for unpredictable mutation, but he added that “although it (the vaccine) might not guarantee immunity against the flu, in the majority of cases it helps greatly to reduce the number of victims as it does to lessen the seriousness of complications arising from it.”. With regard to the treatment for combatting the flu, Doctor Gallardo recommended rest, drinking plenty of water and juice, and to take everyday analgesics, as well as paying particular attention to issues of hygiene such as covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, in order to minimize the spread of the virus.

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