This year, the Australian Government is urging all Australians (over 6 months of age) to get a flu vaccination before winter.
Getting vaccinated helps reduce the spread of the flu in our communities. If we have fewer cases of flu this year, we’ll relieve the strain on hospitals and healthcare providers. This is more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps you get a flu vaccination every year. Or perhaps this will be your first time. Here are five things to consider.
The flu is a viral illness that can be caused by different strains of influenza virus.
The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in your body about two weeks after vaccination. Then, if you get infected, these antibodies help your body fight and kill the virus.
The most common strains of the flu virus change every year. The vaccine differs slightly every year to match these changes. So, you should get the influenza vaccine this year, even if you’ve had it before.
The vaccine can’t give you the flu because it doesn’t contain any live virus.
You may, however, notice these common side effects:
Talk to your doctor or health professional if you’re worried about side effects.
Some groups of people can have very serious, even life-threatening, symptoms if they get the flu:
For these groups the flu vaccination is free. You can check with your doctor to find out if you’re eligible for a free vaccination.
You can get your flu shot from your GP or book one at a pharmacy.
If you’re not eligible for a free vaccination, you can get one for a small cost.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, let your doctor or pharmacist know before your appointment if you have:
Some of the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar, such as the early symptoms of fever and cough. And these viruses also spread the same way: via small virus-containing droplets produced when an infected persons coughs or sneezes.
That’s why behaviours that help slow the spread of COVID-19 will also slow the spread of the flu:
Here are some other ways you can fight the flu:
Infographic courtesy of Healthdirect Australia.
There are some key differences between COVID-19 and the flu:
Now is the time to be taking action to help minimise the spread of influenza in Australia. Help keep our communities safe and well in 2020 by getting a flu vaccination today.