At this time of year, the flu starts to become more prevalent, with higher rates of infection and symptoms lasting longer due to the colder weather. Here we take a look at some of the benefits of getting your vaccination this winter.
What is a flu vaccination and who should get one?
Flu vaccinations can help to protect you against getting the flu and developing other health complications that can arise as a result of flu. Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older. It’s especially important for groups who are at the highest risk of developing complications from flu, including:
- Children under five
- Adults aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- People who suffer from medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or disorders of the liver or kidneys
- People who have weakened immune systems
Your doctor can advise you if you have any concerns about getting your flu vaccination.
Can flu vaccinations give you the flu?
It’s a common myth that you can get the flu from a flu vaccination. This is completely untrue! The vaccinations are made using inactive flu strains.
You may experience slight soreness where the injection was given, and there is a small possibility of headaches or a mild fever. Some people mistake these for flu symptoms but it isn’t possible to contract the flu from a flu vaccination.
If you do go on to get the flu after your vaccination, you probably caught it before you were vaccinated, or have been unlucky enough to get a new strain of flu.
What are the main benefits of flu vaccinations?
The main and most obvious benefit of a flu vaccination is that it can prevent you from getting the flu. Flu vaccinations protect you against all strains of the flu that medical experts predict will be common throughout the season. This increases your chances of enjoying the winter season without feeling ill or worrying about having to take time off work.
A vaccination can’t offer 100 percent protection. However, if you do get the flu, your vaccination is likely to make your symptoms milder. You’re less likely to need to go to hospital or visit the doctor as the illness is more manageable.
Flu vaccination benefits for high-risk groups
Flu vaccinations offer additional protections to vulnerable groups who are more likely to develop additional health complications as a result of contracting the flu.
Pregnant women are approximately half as likely to develop an acute respiratory infection as a result of flu if they have been vaccinated. Getting a flu vaccination while pregnant can also reduce the chances of your newborn baby contracting flu. The antibodies passed from mother to baby in the womb offer protection for your baby for several months after he or she is born.
Flu vaccinations have also been shown to reduce the need to stay in hospital with flu-related complications by 79 percent in people with diabetes, and 52 percent in people who suffer from chronic lung disease.
Benefits for people around you
Getting a flu vaccination doesn’t just benefit you. It also offers increased protection from flu to the people you come into contact with, including your family, friends and work colleagues. This is because your vaccination reduces the chances of you getting the flu, making it less likely that you will be able to pass the infection on to others.
Even if you have been vaccinated, it’s still important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands at regular intervals and throwing away your tissue as soon as you have used it. You should also inform the people you come into contact with, especially in the workplace, about the importance of these good habits, and encourage them all to get their flu vaccinations.
Flu is extremely unpleasant, and in some cases, can have serious health risks. In order to protect ourselves and those we care about, it’s important to dispel the myths and worries and ensure as many people as possible get their flu vaccinations this season.
Note: All flu vaccines have been exhausted across Australia for the 2018 flu season. If you are looking to offer flu vaccination to your workforce please ensure that you lock in your vaccination early 2019.