Peak flu season is nearing.

New figures from the HSE show 150 patients have been hospitalised within the past week, with 27 needing treatment in intensive care units.

While six people have passed away, as flu season begins to take effect in Ireland.

So far cases of the flu have mainly been among those aged 15 and 64, but health chiefs say more children will get the flu now they’ve returned to school.

The start of February is expected to be the peak for cases of influenza.

Dr. Kevin Kelleher, the HSE’s Assistant National Director for Public Health, told many more people die from cases indirectly linked to flu.

“What also happens is that flu causes other types of deaths, not directly due to flu but things like pneumonia or heart disease or strokes, things of that nature,” he said.

“We can see that after about two or three months and that means there are probably another three or four hundred deaths in all related to the flu as a consequence each year.”

How lower your chances of catching the flu.

The World Health Organisation recommends the following methods for avoiding catching influenza:

  • Get yourself (or family members age 6 months and older) vaccinated against current strains of influenza, if possible.
  • Keep your distance from people who show symptoms of influenza-like illness, such as coughing and sneezing (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible);
  • Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes as much as possible;
  • Reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
  • Improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
  • Practice good health habits (including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active)