Older people urged to be prepared for the winter season

Golf course covered in snow
21st May 2024

With the winter respiratory virus season rapidly approaching, NSW Health is reminding people aged 65 years and older – to remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination, and book in with their GP or pharmacist for their yearly flu vaccination ahead of winter.
ATAGI recommends people aged 65 and over receive their free COVID vaccine every 6 – 12 months. NSW Health recommends people speak to their doctor or pharmacist to understand what is best for them. Older people should also speak to their doctor now to make a plan about what to do if they start feeling unwell to help them get access to the right tests and treatments quickly.
“The wider community also play an important role in protecting people who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and flu. This includes our family and friends aged over 65. We want to remind the community if they are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, they should stay at home to protect others. If someone has cold or flu symptoms and they need to go out, they should wear a mask,” says Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer.
People experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms should also avoid visiting high risk settings like hospitals, aged and disability care facilities or people who are at higher risk of severe illness.
Other things people can do to help protect themselves and their loved ones include:
* Stay at home if you’re unwell. If you have symptoms but have to leave home, wear a mask.
* Speak to your doctor now if you are at higher risk of severe illness from respiratory illnesses and make a plan about what to do if you start feeling unwell so you can get access to the right tests and treatments early
* Gather outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces.
* Consider taking a rapid antigen test, even if you don’t have symptoms, before visiting vulnerable loved ones when COVID-19 transmission is moderate or high in the community. To see the latest NSW respiratory surveillance summary report, please visit health.nsw.gov.au/respiratoryreports
People may be required to wear a mask in NSW when visiting high-risk settings such as aged and disability care. Masks may also be required in hospitals, general practices, medical centres and pharmacies.
NSW Health continues to closely monitor and assess the way we respond to acute respiratory infections, including COVID-19, to keep patients, staff and visitors to our health facilities safe.
For more information on getting your flu or COVID-19
vaccination and how to protect yourself and your loved ones this winter, visit the website health.nsw.gov.au/respiratory

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