19 August, 2023
Health Tips with Gilgandra Pharmacy - Aug 1, 2023
Facts about the flu
While it is late in the season, it is still not too late to think about protecting you and your family from the flu. Many in our community mistakenly think the flu is just a nasty cold but statistics show that last year the flu caused 308 deaths and 1800 hospitalisations across Australia.
So, in this week’s Health Tips we will look at facts about flu.
What is the flu?
Influenza is a viral infection which is spread easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and direct contact with a person who has the flu.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
The flu can cause fever and chills, sore throat, cough, fatigue and muscle aches, headaches and a runny nose. Symptoms of the flu usually develop over a couple of days and may continue for up to two weeks.
In some people the flu can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, croup and ear infections which in turn can lead to hospitalisation and death.
How can the flu be prevented?
Vaccination is the most effective protection against
the flu. Other ways to prevent catching or spreading the
flu include avoiding close contact with sick people,
keeping your hands clean by regular washing or using
hand sanitiser, avoiding touching your mouth, nose and
eyes and regularly disinfecting frequently used surfaces
such as bench tops and desks.
Is the flu vaccine dangerous?
The flu vaccine is very well tolerated. Common side effects after the vaccine are high temperature, muscle aches, and redness or pain at the injection site. The flu vaccines used in Australia do not contain live viruses and therefore you can’t get the flu from vaccination. Many people mistake the mild side effects of the flu vaccine mentioned above for a case of the flu. Other people may believe they have caught the flu when they are just experiencing a bad cold.
Why do I need a flu vaccine each year?
Flu viruses are always changing which means the flu vaccine needs to be modified each year. Health authorities in Australia look at the common strains of flu that have occurred around the world in the previous 12 months and develop vaccine to offer maximum protection. This year the flu vaccine protects against four different forms of influenza and is therefore called “quadrivalent”.
How long does it take for the flu vaccine to work?
It will take between 10-14 days for full immunity to
be achieved after a flu vaccination. For this reason it is
best to have your vaccination early in the season, but it
is never too late to get vaccinated as the season extends
Am I eligible for free vaccination?
The Australian government provides free flu vacci- nations to people at high risk of developing the flu and its complications including pregnant women, people over 65 years of age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with some medical conditions including heart and lung disease. Those eligible can see their local doctor for the vaccination. As of this year, pharmacies are also able to do subsidised vaccines for these populations, please contact the pharmacy for further information.
What if I’m not eligible for free vaccination?
Those who aren’t eligible for free vaccination can still see their doctor for a script or they can visit their pharmacy for an in-store vaccination.