Doctor's advice to keep Māori safe from 'twindemic'

By Stefan Dimitrof

The newly dubbed 'twindemic' is rolling out around the country placing primary care services under the pump, with a combination of the  Covid-19 pandemic and the newly introduced influenza.

And, in a response to the major pressures on the health care system, crisis management funding has been made available to extend free flu vaccines to people with mental health conditions, addiction issues and for children aged between three and 12..

Meanwhile, Papakura GP and National Hauora Coalition clinical facilitator Dr Ranche Johnson (Ngāpuhi) has advised whānau to stay well by taking the first step of prevention through vaccination.

“Regarding your tamariki, make sure that their routine childhood immunisations are up to date. Unfortunately, in the past two years with Covid, the vaccination rates for tamariki Māori have dropped dangerously low.”

“For whanau it's really important to prepare your house in case someone gets the flu, so ensuring that you have paracetamol and lozenges; if you are sick make sure to stay home, and take paracetamol and make sure you're drinking lots of fluids”.

“For children, lemon and honey drinks are okay for soothing coughs and sore throats. If they have a fever use a damp cloth on their face and limbs to cool them down.”

Johnson said that it was important for Māori and Pacifika parents that “if your children have sore throats, to get a sore throat swab to check if they have strep throat, so we can give them antibiotics to prevent rheumatic fever”.

“If you are worried call Health Line, and Health Navigator is a really great website, which has a lot of information about how to stay well.”