A new flu strain could hit Australia this winter sparking fresh concern that an outbreak will lead to more cases of potentially deadly pneumonia.
In response, the Lung Foundation of Australia is encouraging people to get vaccinated with their ‘Love your Lungs’ campaign.
Joshua Bristow reports.
This year’s cold season is upon us and doctors are worried a new flu strain H3N2 could leave Queenslanders at risk.
Robert Booy, Professor Nathional Centre for Immunisation Research: “We are really quite worried that the elderly will be hard hit with hospitalisation and death.”
The new strain caused the majority of respiratory illness amongst elderly people in the northern hemisphere.
Pneumonia inflames the alveoli air sacs within the lungs initially causing fevers, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Gay Bruce, former patient: “It’s like a ten ton truck on your chest, ten ton truck on your back, you can’t pull yourself up out of bed, you can’t move.”
Pneumonia kills approximately 1.2 million people worldwide each year making it the single most deadly bacteria in the world. Low vaccination rates contribute to the figure and people aged over 65 are particularly susceptible.
The Australian Lung Foundation has this week released it’s ‘Love your Lung’s’ campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated.
Bridget Dixon, The Australian Lung Foundation: “Based on our research we’ve found that 1 in 8 at risk Queenslanders don’t know they are at risk of contracting pneumonia.”
The foundation says people should approach their GP and stay up to date on Influenza and Pneumonia vaccinations each year regardless of whether they think they are vulnerable or not.
Joshua Bristow, QUT News.