This winter has already seen a sharp increase in severe flu cases in some cities in Australia and currently, the only way to protect yourself against the influenza virus is to have the flu vaccination for 2019.
What Is The Flu?
Influenza is quite a common disease that affects your respiratory tract. Because each year sees different strains of the disease emerging, it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months have the flu vaccine annually.
Why Should You Be Vaccinated?
Local government advises that confirmed cases of the flu are already higher this year, compared to the same flu season last year. Not only does the flu shot give you protection against contracting it, it also protects the people who can’t have the vaccine for medical reasons.
What Is Flu Vaccination?
Flu vaccination is administered via injection, to boost your immunity against developing flu.
When Should You Have A Flu Vaccination in Sydney?
Every year flu season peaks at a different period over winter, but generally lasts from June through September. Flu season typically peaks around August. In order to achieve immunity in time for the peak of winter, health officials recommend that the public is vaccinated from mid- to end- April.
It usually takes two to three weeks after having the shot to develop immunity to the flu. It is not necessary for adults to have a second vaccine; they should rather have the flu shot every year.
Children who are over the age of six months and under the age of 9 years who are having the vaccine for the first time, may benefit from a second dose. Patients who have had organ or stem cell transplants may also benefit from a second dose of the vaccine.
Do You Fall Into The High Risk Category Of The National Immunisation Program?
The National Immunisation Program (NIP) makes a certain number of flu vaccines available for free each year, and these are reserved for people who are considered to be at higher risk for developing the flu, or who may not be able to afford the shot.
For 2019 there are 6-million vaccines available, and these are available to:
Pregnant women are advised to have the flu shot, and it can be administered at any stage of your pregnancy. This is important to protect you, your unborn baby, and the people around you.
Adults over the age of 65 and those with certain medical conditions
Adults over the age of 65, and those with certain medical conditions, are considered to be at higher risk of developing influenza and are thus entitled to be vaccinated for free.
Some of these medical conditions include:
- Cardiac disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Obesity, down syndrome
- Chronic neurologic conditions
- People with immune-compromised conditions such as hiv
- Chronic respiratory conditions
- People who are having immune-oncology therapy
- People who have received organ transplants
- Preterm infants.
Chat with your healthcare practitioner to find out if you are eligible to receive a free flu vaccine.
Occupational Groups That Are At Higher Risk
Some people are at higher risk of getting the flu because of the work that they do. These groups of people should ensure they have the flu vaccination every year:
- People who care for or live with people in high risk groups
- People who work in or visit aged care facilities
- People working in the commercial pork and poultry industry should have a vaccine in the event of a swine or avian flu outbreak
- People who are travelling during flu season should also be vaccinated in good time to achieve immunity before they travel
How Effective Is The Flu Vaccination?
Being immunised should give you protection for a three to four month period afterwards. It’s possible that you might still develop a mild case of the flu but your body should handle it better than if you were not vaccinated.
No vaccine is 100% effective, but having the shot gives you more protection than not having it at all.
Staying Healthy During The Winter Season
In addition to the flu shot, you should try to maintain optimal health during the winter months. Regular exercise, good sleep patterns and a nutrient-dense diet is important during this time of the year. Manage your stress levels carefully and take care of yourself to add to your overall immunity.
To find out more about how you can protect yourself with a flu vaccination in Sydney, please contact our friendly team today at (02) 9884 9300.