Why get the flu vaccine?
It is coming up to winter time. Winter is a time of year where many of us will end up suffering from a cold or the flu. While having a cold is never nice it tends to be less severe than flu and doesn’t impact your life in the same way that influenza (the flu) will. It only takes a quick visit to your pharmacy to get a vaccine that immunises you against the influenza virus for up to 12 months. If you feel that you are at risk of the flu this winter call into your pharmacy today to discuss vaccination.
The symptoms of flu are;
- High temperature
- Sore or dry throat
- Fever/ sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme tiredness
- Chills/ feeling shivery
- Aching limbs
If you get the flu, the symptoms are usually the worst for 3-4 days but it can take up to 2 weeks to fully recover from the flu.
Many people have heard of the flu vaccine but, are afraid to get vaccinated in case it causes the flu. However the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, it is an inactivated vaccine. It can take up to two weeks after the vaccine for your body to build up protection against infections. I am also frequently asked if the vaccine will be painful. However it is very quick and most patients say they never felt anything. Including the consultation with your pharmacist, the vaccination takes about 10 minutes and then we keep patients in the pharmacy for a further 15 minutes so we can ensure you are still feeling well.
A different flu vaccine formulation is developed every year so the most prevalent strains of influenza are included to ensure maximum protection. It is important to get vaccinated every year to ensure you are immunised against this year’s flu strains. Most people over the age of 18 can get a flu vaccine in the pharmacy. However if you have a known allergy to eggs or chicken or have ever had an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine you need to go to your GP for extra monitoring.
It is crucial that certain groups of patients are given the flu vaccine because while usually harmless, getting the flu can be life threatening for them. These groups include;
- Persons aged 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
• Persons with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40
• Pregnant women (can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
• Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
• Healthcare workers
• People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs
If you think you are in an at risk group or if you are in close contact with someone in an at risk group, call into the pharmacy to discuss flu vaccination with your pharmacist. If you have a medical card or GP visit card then the vaccination may be free of charge.