Winter is coming. It is now time to be immunised against the seasonal flu if you are at risk of developing serious complications from seasonal influenza (flu). If you have the flu vaccine you greatly reduce your chance of getting the seasonal flu.

The immunisation is normally given in March and April each year. It is made from the strain of flu virus that is expected in the coming winter. Each year this is slightly different, so a new vaccination needs to be made every year and you need a yearly vaccination to stay protected. The vaccine takes up to 14 days for full protection after having the jab.

Flu vaccines do not prevent other viral infections which can cause coughs, colds and flu-like illnesses. It protects only against the particular flu virus that is expected in the coming winter.

The adult immunisation does not actually contain any living flu virus. This means that it cannot cause flu or any other infections. If you develop a cough or cold shortly after having a flu immunisation it is a coincidence.

 Current advice is that you should be immunised against the seasonal flu virus each autumn if you:

  • Are aged 65 or over.
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-stay residential care accommodation.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have any chronic lung diseases.

Examples include asthma (needing regular steroid inhalers or tablets). It is also recommended for any child who has previously been admitted to hospital with a chest infection.

  • Have a chronic heart disease.

Examples include angina, heart failure or if you have ever had a heart attack.

  • Have a serious kidney disease.
  • Have a serious liver disease such as cirrhosis.
  • Have a poor immune system.

Examples include if you are receiving chemotherapy or steroid treatment (for more than a month), if you have HIV/AIDS or if you have had your spleen removed.

  • Have certain serious diseases of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis or have had a stroke in the past.

In addition to the main at-risk groups of people listed above:

  • You should be immunised if you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill with flu.
  • Staff involved in direct patient care (including nursing and care homes) may be offered the flu vaccine by their employer.
  • Pregnant women. Even if you are otherwise healthy it is now recommended that all pregnant women receive the flu vaccine. It is safe to be given if you are either pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you are healthy and an adult aged under 65 and you do not fall into any of the above categories, then you do not need immunisation against seasonal flu. This is because you are unlikely to develop complications from flu.

The vast majority of people can receive flu immunisation. However, the following groups of people should not be immunised:

  • Those who have a severe allergy to eggs. However, you can still receive a different immunisation that protects against the swine flu strain (H1N1v).
  • Those who have had a previous allergic reaction to a flu virus immunisation in the past.

Flu immunisation can be given at the same time as other immunisation; it is often given at the same time as the pneumonia immunisation. 

So let’s be prepared this winter and take precautions against serious flu complications. This year’s flu vaccine is now available – ask Elaine for more information.

Reference: https://patient.info/health/influenza-and-flu-like-illness

 
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Receptionist - Elaine

08h30 - 17h00

By Appointment Only

Dr Jennifer Crombie

08H30 - 11H00

Dr Ruth Ward

14H00 - 17H00

 
Pinelands Doctors
4 Mountbatten Avenue
021 531 2717
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