The facts about the Flu shot

Get a flu shot this season

Waking up with a fever, a cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body aches, chills, fatigue and vomiting? Chances are it’s that time of year again and you’ve caught yourself a nasty case of the flu.

The flu can greatly disrupt our day to day lives but there are ways you can avoid it like regularly washing your hands, maintaining a healthy diet and getting yourself or your children a flu shot.

So what is the flu and how do we get it? The origins of flu or Influenza as it’s known, began as an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by a virus. Today, it’s a relatively common virus amongst humans.

Influenza can spread from direct transmission (coughing or sneezing on someone); it can be airborne (inhaling the air of an infected persons sneeze, cough, spit, etc), or from hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission.

So who’s most at risk? Children under five years of age, the elderly over 65 and pregnant women.  Anyone with a medical condition including asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease and kidney or liver disorders is also more at risk.

But the good news is those most at risk can protect themselves with an annual flu shot.  Flu shots work by injecting your body with the inactivated flu virus. When your immune system detects this it stimulates your body to produce antibodies to fight and kill the virus, making you immune to the particular strain you are injected with.

Although there are many strains of the virus, a flu shot will offer you the best protection against the major strains of the virus.

The best time to receive a flu shot is in autumn so now would be the time to consult your local doctor and receive your annual Influenza vaccine. It’s best to get one before flu season is in full flight because it can take up to two weeks for the vaccination to be effective.

How much will it cost?

The cost can range anywhere from $15 to $25 but some people are able to receive the shot free of charge. These include:

  • Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (aged 15 years and over).
  • The elderly (aged 65 and over)
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and residential care facilities.
  • Homeless people and those providing them with care.
  • Children on long term aspirin therapy.
  • People six months of age or older with the following underlying chronic medical conditions: cardiac disease, asthma, diabetes, neurological conditions, people with impaired immunity including HIV.

So go get yourself and your children a flu shot so you can be assured of a warm and healthy winter.

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