A former Galway Hurling All-Star has shared his near death experience in an effort to highlight the dangers of flu as we approach peak flu season.
In a video launched at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore today, Séan Treacy and his wife Geraldine, from Portumna, recalled the devastating events which lead to Sean spending 10 days in an induced coma following multi-organ failure after he contracted a strain of influenza in 2013.
Sean, who played inter-county hurling for Galway between 1989 and 1996, recorded the video in support of a campaign which is urging healthcare workers to get the flu vaccine.
You can watch his story here:
The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group conducted a survey with staff in Naas General Hospital, the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore and the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, and focus groups in Tallaght University Hospital, following the 2017/2018 flu season.
The survey found that 44% of staff got last year’s flu vaccine. The data provides evidence that further awareness and education about the dangers of flu, and the need to get the vaccine, is required.
The main reasons staff reported getting the vaccine related to concern for own health, ease of access to vaccine, concern for patient and concern for family.
The main reasons cited for not getting the vaccine included: concern about the side effects of the vaccine, they stated that they never get the flu, they were concerned about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine and staff reported that they got the flu after they previously got the vaccine.
This new video devised from the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group aims to address these concerns expressed by staff in an effort to promote awareness of the benefits of being vaccinated for the protection of themselves and their families.
The 2017/2018 flu season was very drawn out and the number of outbreaks, confirmed hospitalized cases, ICU cases, and associated deaths exceeded all previous records in Ireland, including the 2009 pandemic.
All age groups were affected with a particularly severe impact on older cohorts. There were nearly 5,000 confirmed influenza cases hospitalized last year when compared to nearly 1,500 in the 2016/2017 season.
Healthcare workers are up to 10 times more likely to get the flu than the general population.
In an impassioned plea to health care workers and the wider public, Séan Treacy said: “I was very healthy, I had no health issues and suddenly I contracted the flu virus and my health and lifestyle changed from that day on.
“I nearly died, I was very lucky,” he stated.
“People say that they have the flu, they don’t, they have a cold, and I know how serious the flu can be. If I could save one life from sharing my story today, that is a job well done.”
The flu vaccine has been available from Hospitals, GPs and Pharmacists since early October.
The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group are calling on all healthcare workers and people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine as there still is time to protect ourselves, our patients and our families.
Ms Eileen Whelan, Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery & Quality at the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group commented: “Flu is responsible for between 200 and 500 deaths each year in Ireland and in a severe season it can cause up to 1,000 deaths. The best way to prevent flu is to get the flu vaccine.”
Further information is available for healthcare workers on www.hse.ie/flu
Advice, tips, information and videos on getting over flu and other common illnesses are available at www.undertheweather.ie