It’s that time of year again, where we all huddle up indoors sharing our germs. Already in the southern states we have seen significant spikes in the number of Influenza cases compared to the same time in previous years. We are likely in store for a nasty ‘Flu’ season this year.
We encourage all individuals > 6months of age to get the flu vaccine to help keep them well. Influenza is a viral illness that causes upper respiratory tract symptoms like sore throat, high fever, body aches, runny nose and nasal congestion, cough and shortness of breath. It not uncommonly will cause complications like pneumonia, with many patients who get influenza requiring admission to hospital or the Intensive Care Unit.
Thankfully we have a safe vaccine available to help protect us from Influenza or at least make its symptoms more mild. The ‘Flu’ Vaccine is an INACTIVATED vaccine and so YOU CAN’T get sick from it. The reason why people think you can is because we give it in ‘Flu’ Season. So there are lots of ‘Flu-like’ illnesses floating around, and so you could easily be ‘brewing’ an illness on the day of your vaccination. Of course if you develop symptoms of a flu like illness, you will want to blame it on the ‘Flu’ Vaccine, when in actual fact it was just unlucky…you would have got that illness whether you had had the ‘Flu’ Vaccine or not.
Further to this, it takes 10 days for the vaccine to be fully effective, so you could still pick up Influenza in the time it takes for the vaccine to be effective. While you absolutely can’t get ‘sick’ from the flu vaccine, it certainly doesn’t make you invincible.
There are hundreds of other viral illnesses around over the winter that we don’t have vaccines to protect against, and so it is still vitally important that you take measures to keep yourself well over winter such as regular hand washing, staying away from sick people and staying home if you yourself are sick. The ‘Flu’ Vaccine is available now through our practice or local pharmacies. We encourage all to book an appointment to receive one.