An average of 3,500 Australians die from influenza each year, 18,000 get hospitalised and around 300,000 pay a visit to their GP (Influenza Specialist Group). Some people are at greater risk than others. If you feel like you have flu-like symptoms you need to be aware that you can spread the virus to other vulnerable people. The people who are at greatest risk include children, the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals.
Outside of the risk of infecting others, you should also consider that it takes the average person two weeks to fight the flu. Think of the work and chores that pile up in that time. Getting the flu vaccination means you avoid spreading it to high-risk people, avoid feeling dreadful and avoid putting your life on hold.
The vaccine does not contain any active strains of the virus so you cannot get sick from the shot itself. What it does contain are particles of killed viruses and people can feel side effects from this. You may experience pain, redness and swelling at the injection point and possibly a low-grade fever or drowsiness. Immunity for the flu takes about two weeks to develop so remember that it is possible to catch the flu during this time.
The influenza virus changes rapidly and often so the vaccine is updated every year. By getting a vaccination each year you remain protected from each new developing strain. A yearly shot is recommended for everyone, especially high-risk groups. With one shot in the autumn, you will be protected for the year.
The National Immunisation Program Schedule provides free flu vaccinations for those in high-risk groups: the elderly, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 and over, and anyone over 6 months with immunocompromised systems. There are even some businesses in Australia that provide employee flu vaccination to both public and private organisations. Generally speaking, most of these flu vaccination wellness programs are paid by the employer.
For more information on the influenza virus and where to get the flu shot in 2019, visit the website below:
Aitor is a Registered Nurse (AHPRA registration NMW0001159845) with over 17 years experience in General Nursing, Emergency Nursing and Corporate Health. He loves Flu, works with Flu, studies Flu, writes about Flu and ironically, he’s had the Flu.
He is the Nurse Consultant at Corporate Care and a proud member of the Australian National Padel Team.
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