If you are at risk of Flu it is highly recommended you take a few minutes to protect yourself this winter with a seasonal flu vaccination.
What is influenza (flu)?
Influenza is a highly infectious acute respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Influenza affects people of all ages. Outbreaks of influenza occur almost every year, usually in winter. This is why it is also known as seasonal flu.
How serious is flu?
Flu is often self limiting with most people recovering in 2-7 days. However, flu can be severe and can cause serious illness and death, especially in the very young and in the elderly. Serious respiratory complications can develop, including pneumonia and bronchitis, to which older people and those with certain chronic medical conditions are particularly susceptible. Pregnant women have also been found to be at increased risk of the complications of flu. Some people may need hospital treatment and a number of mainly older people die from influenza each winter.
How do people catch flu?
Flu is a highly infectious illness. A person carrying the virus can spread the illness by coughing or sneezing. A person can spread the virus from 1-2 days before they develop symptoms and for up to a week after symptoms develop.
What are the symptoms of Flu?
Flu symptoms hit you suddenly and severely. Symptoms of flu include
myalgia (muscle pain),
non-productive dry cough.
Is it seasonal flu or the common cold?
It can be difficult at times to tell between the common cold and flu. A cold is a much less severe illness than flu. The flu symptoms come on suddenly with fevers and muscle aches. A cold usually starts gradually with symptoms of a sore throat and a blocked or runny nose.
How can flu be prevented?
Flu can be prevented by vaccination. Flu vaccine is a safe, effective way to help prevent flu infection, avoiding hospitalisation, reducing flu related deaths and illnesses.
What is the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine?
Each year the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine contains three common influenza virus strains. The flu virus changes each year this is why a new flu vaccine has to be given each year.
Who should be vaccinated?
Vaccination is strongly recommended for:
persons 65 and over,
those with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart or lung disease
people whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment
residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
persons with a body mass index (BMI) over 40
pregnant women.(can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
people with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs
How does seasonal flu vaccine work?
Seasonal flu vaccine helps the person’s immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. When someone who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the virus these antibodies attack the virus.
How effective is seasonal flu vaccine?
Seasonal flu vaccine prevents flu illness in approximately 70% – 90% of people.
The effectiveness varies depending on the age and health of the person being vaccinated and the strains of flu virus that are circulating. Older persons and those with certain long term diseases have lower immune responses so the vaccine may not be as effective but it will still prevent severe illness and hospitalisation.
For more information please call us on 021 4841289.
* information credit www.immunisation.ie