- The flu can be serious.
An average of 3,500 Australians die from influenza yearly, 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 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 avoiding spreading it to high-risk people, avoiding feeling dreadful and putting your life on hold.
- The flu shot will not make you sick.
The vaccine does not contain any active strains of the virus, so you cannot get sick from the shot itself. It contains 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 to the flu takes about two weeks to develop, so remember that it is possible to catch the flu during this time.
- Flu shots are needed each year.
The influenza virus changes rapidly and often, so the vaccine is updated yearly. You remain protected from each new developing strain by getting a vaccination each year. A yearly shot is recommended for everyone, especially in high-risk groups. You will be protected for the year with one shot in the autumn.
- The flu vaccine may be free for you.
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 for by the employer.
For more information on the influenza virus and where to get the flu shot in 2019, visit the website below: