By Dr Catherine Swanson
People often ask if I think the Flu shot is a good idea. My answer is most definitely yes! I get it myself and so do my family.
Influenza is a virus that makes people very unwell causing high fevers, muscle aches and pains, headache, cough, nausea and fatigue. These symptoms can last for 2-4 weeks and it can take several more weeks to get back to good health. Some people develop complications which require hospitalisation and it can make some seriously unwell.
The Flu vaccine provides protection against the different strains of Influenza that are common in the community at this time of the year- 4 types this year. We expect that in 75% of people it will prevent the illness and act to minimise symptoms in the others.
Importantly it is impossible for the Flu Vaccine to actually cause the flu but it CANNOT prevent other illnesses such as a Cold caused by other viruses.
Most people who get the vaccine will not notice any side effects apart from a mildly sore arm. About 3% of people get some aches and pains or low grade temp or other mild short term symptoms.
We are able to give the flu vaccine to children > 6 months old and it is highly recommended for people over 65 yrs or with other chronic medical conditions such as Diabetes.
Pregnant ladies can get serious complications from Influenza and it is recommended and safe to get vaccinated in pregnancy.
If you have any questions about Influenza and the vaccine please talk to the Doctors and Nurses at Kedron Wavell Medical Centre. We have the quadrivalent vaccine available for adults and children, and some people will qualify for a free vaccine from the Australian Govt.