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HSE confirms 34 deaths linked to flu season

The HSE says influenza is still circulating in Ireland, six weeks into flu season, with 34 confirmed deaths being reported.

The majority of the deaths reported occurred in people aged 65 years and older.

The number of hospitalisations decreased and the highest hospitalisation rates continue to be seen in those aged under five.

"Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, disposing of the tissue as soon as possible and cleaning your hands as soon as you can are important measures in helping prevent the spread of influenza and other germs and reducing the risk of transmission," said Dr Kevin Kelleher, Assistant National Director, Health Protection

"Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms.

"Anyone in one of the high-risk groups should contact their GP if they develop influenza symptoms.

If you need to visit your GP or the Emergency Department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu.

To date this season, 1,672 hospitalised confirmed influenza cases have been reported. A total of 88 confirmed flu cases have been admitted to critical care units.

Influenza A (H1N1) is the dominant virus in circulation, while low levels of influenza A (H3N2) and B continue to circulate.

The HSE expects the virus to circulate in the community for at least the next four weeks.

The HSE is reminding the public that it is still not too late to get the flu vaccine and those in high-risk groups are still urged to get vaccinated against influenza.