The 2020 Flu Season is coming: what you need to know about the flu vaccination?
What is the flu?
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a contagious health condition caused by the influenza virus. Each year, influenza and associated complications are estimated to be responsible for approximately 310,000 doctor visits. A flu vaccine is particularly important for young children, adults over 65 years and people with chronic health conditions. Sometimes people confuse the symptoms of the common cold with the flu. The flu virus infects the nose, throat and lungs, resulting in symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and muscle and body aches. It can also lead to severe health complications.
What causes the flu?
The flu virus changes very quickly and each year new flu vaccines are released to keep up with the rapidly adapting flu virus. The virus is spread by infected people coughing or sneezing and can also easily spread by surfaces contaminated with cough and sneeze droplets. So, it’s easy to catch and spread, but hard to avoid.
The first sign of flu
Symptoms can usually appear about one to three days after catching the flu and can last for a week or more. Some of the symptoms of the common cold such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat and sneezing can also be seen when affected by the flu. But it is important to be mindful of other symptoms.
- Fever and chills
- Vomiting and diarrhea – more common in children
Other symptoms to watch:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest Pain
The severity of symptoms is different for each individual and it is recommended you consult your doctor immediately should you experience any of the above symptoms.
Flu vaccination can help to prevent the flu
A flu vaccination can help to protect you and your family from infection caused by the virus. The more people are vaccinated in the community, the less likely it is for the disease to spread. The most common strains of the influenza virus change every year and the flu vaccine also changes every year to match the strains.
Who should get the flu vaccination?
While the flu can affect people of all ages, the people who are at highest risk of being hospitalised with flu are:
- People over 65 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin adults over 15 years
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems
- People who smoke
- People who haven’t been vaccinated against the flu
People with certain underlying health conditions are at greater risk of health complications from the flu.
- Heart conditions
- Severe asthma
- COPD and other lung conditions
- Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2
- Kidney problems
- Impaired immunity such as HIV infection
- Malignant cancers
- Chronic neurological disorders
A flu vaccination is also recommended for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; along with primary carers of children, seniors and other people.
Side effect of flu vaccination
Common side effects of the flu vaccination include redness and some pain at the site of the injection. This usually only lasts for about 24-48 hours. If it persists beyond that, speak to your GP for advice on using ice packs and mild pain relievers.
It is also common to experience some flu-like symptoms such as lethargy, mild headaches or low-grade fever. This does not mean the flu vaccine gave you the flu; but it is rather the immune system’s response to the virus in the vaccine.
Different types of flu vaccines
You may hear about multiple types of flu vaccines. The standard flu vaccine for most people for 2020 is a quadrivalent type, however there are specific vaccines for people over 65 years. These are formulated to provide better and increased protection for that age group. Our GP
s can help you with any questions that you may have.
Click here to make an appointment with our GP: Book now