While last year’s influenza season saw relatively low levels of activity compared to recent years, we know that flu strains change every year so annual immunisation is necessary. With winter approaching now is a great time to prepare yourself for this year’s flu season.
Help protect those that are most vulnerable
Everyone over 6 months of age is encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu. Annual influenza vaccination is especially recommended for:
- Children 6 months to 5 years
- Adults aged over 65 years – older people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu as their immune defences become weaker with age
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- People with medical conditions that increase their risk of influenza e.g. people who are immuno-compromised, have heart disease, obesity, chronic respiratory and neurologic conditions, down syndrome and other chronic illnesses
- Homeless people
- Pregnant women
- Carers and household contact of people in high-risk groups
- Residents, staff and volunteers in aged care and long-term residential facilities
- People who provide essential community services
- People who are travelling during the influenza season
Fit & healthy people are at risk too
If you’re fit and healthy you may be wondering if it’s necessary for you to have the shot, but it’s worth considering that the flu is extremely contagious and it’s possible that you could give the flu to an infant or senior who may not have the ability to fight it off.
Flu strains change annually
The flu virus is always changing. To ensure ongoing protection, it is recommended that you are annually vaccinated with the most up to date vaccine.
The flu can be life-threatening
It is estimated that each year influenza causes an average of 13,500 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths among Australians aged over 50 years, which suggests more than double the number of deaths from motor accidents can be attributed to complications from influenza. The highest rates of hospitalisation are seen in children under 5 and the elderly. (Source: healthdirect.gov.au)
You can’t get the flu from the vaccine
It’s a common misconception that you can catch the flu from getting your shot, but this isn’t true. The vaccine does not contain any live virus so it’s not possible to contract influenza from it.
It’s safe for pregnant women
A lot of people ask whether it’s completely safe for women who are pregnant to have their annual vaccination – this is a categorical yes at every stage of pregnancy. In addition, avoiding the flu is a benefit to you and your baby.
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones against influenza.
- Annual influenza vaccination is the single most effective way of protecting yourself against influenza infection
- Hand-washing and good personal hygiene can help prevent the spread of flu
- Where possible, avoid crowds during the flu season
Ozcare is an experienced flu vaccination provider, delivering flu vaccination services to workplaces and schools for nearly 20 years. To find out more give us a call or view our immunisation services to request a quote for your workplace flu clinic.