Flu season is here, now is the time to get vaccinated.
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have it, you’ll be well aware that influenza is a whole lot nastier than any common cold. The symptoms come on rapidly and last longer, with far more intensity than an ordinary bug. Sufferers often experience intense headaches, extreme exhaustion and general weakness that can drag on for weeks at a time. High fevers can last for days, swinging from cold chills to hot sweats. Throw in some coughing, muscle aches and pains, and you could be out of action for weeks at a time.
Why should I get the flu vaccine?
If the awful symptoms of the flu aren’t enough reason to get vaccinated, keeping other people safe from illness should be. Influenza can be deadly to some vulnerable people, like the elderly, newborns and those living with chronic heart or lung conditions. It’s estimated that the flu causes 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP consultations per year, which is a lot of people when you consider how easily it can be prevented.
Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for those around you.
If you’re a relatively fit and healthy person, the consequences of getting sick might only mean a week or two off from work. However, it’s the people in your family and wider community that might be severely affected.
For many Australians, the vaccine is free!
The Australian Government’s National Immunisation Program aims to give flu vaccine access to all at-risk Australians. For these people the flu vaccine is essential.
The groups that are covered are:
- Anyone aged 65 years and over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 15 years of age
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged from six months to less than five years
- Pregnant women
- Anyone aged 6 months and over with one or more of the following medical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Severe asthma
- Chronic lung condition
- Chronic illness requiring medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the past year
- Diseases of the nervous system
- Impaired immunity
Can the flu vaccine make me sick?
The influenza vaccine only contains the antigens for the most common strains of flu, which means that it is not possible to get the flu from the vaccine. Only a very small number of people have an adverse reaction to a flu shot.
Where can I find more information about influenza and the flu vaccinations?
For more information about influenza vaccinations, visit http://www.flusmart.org.au/ , or make an appointment with your GP.