WITH the holiday season upon us and people travelling and gathering with family and friends, residents are reminded to maintain good hygiene habits.
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Between asthma flare-ups due to the weather, a gastroenteritis virus that's going around, meningococcal cases, and COVID still present, Bathurst general practitioner (GP) Dr Pav Phanindra says it's important to protect ourselves.
"Obviously hand hygiene is the most important bit. The festive season has started and I think obviously we've had unseasonable rain so asthma could be another concern," he said.
"There's been gastroenteritis that's started up as well, so there's a combination of things.
"It's quite important to look after people who are vulnerable. You need to be very careful, especially in places like residential care and childcare as well. A few viruses are floating around."
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One of these viruses is meningococcal.
While meningococcal is rare, according to Health NSW there has been 29 cases in the state this year.
The infection is spread through saliva and throat respiratory droplets, and can be life-threatening.
Most of the cases this year have been due to the meningococcal B strain, and Dr Pav says the vaccine helps prevent the infection.
"Children have a meningococcal vaccine for a different strain at the age of 12 months - it's part of the national immunisation campaign, however, the meningococcal B is not part of the childhood vaccination," he said.
"It's available to adolescents in the Year 10 program and ... we are informing parents and families about vaccination which does give them pretty good protection against the meningococcal B strain."
While the vaccination can be given at anytime after three months old, Dr Pav said the age groups more prone to contracting the infection are children under the age of five and adolescents between 15 and 25 years old, due to close contact.
Dr Pav said symptoms range from unexplained limping, to fevers, and even sensitivity to bright lights.
He urges anyone with symptoms to get medical attention straight away, and reminds people to practice healthy hygiene habits and protect themselves from viruses this festive season.
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