With winter approaching, and a number of cases already confirmed, you should put flu vaccinations at the top of your list of priorities.
Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with influenza each year. Many people won’t feel sick at all, but can still pass it on to others. Influenza can be anywhere. Contact with the influenza virus is almost unavoidable, and while contact does not necessarily mean infection, it does mean that you are never far from the possibility of catching influenza.
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, can include any or all of these symptoms: fever, muscle aches, headache, lack of energy, dry cough, sore throat, and possibly a runny nose. The fever and body aches can last 3-5 days and the cough and lack of energy may last for two or more weeks. It is a serious illness that is sometimes fatal. Infection with the influenza virus may lead to a stay in hospital for any age group or have an ongoing medical condition.
Influenza can make existing medical conditions (such as asthma or diabetes) a lot worse. Even if you do not end up in hospital, influenza can keep you in bed for a week or more, preventing you from doing the things you enjoy. By immunizing against influenza you can protect yourself and lessen the change of bringing it home to a baby, older relative, or someone with a medical condition who could develop serous complications from influenza.
This is why the vaccine for influenza is FREE for those over 65, and those under 65 who have an ongoing medical conditions (for more information about the FREE vaccine, head to https://www.fightflu.co.nz/)
If you do not qualify for the free vaccination, you will still benefit from an influenza immunization, this is available at a small cost.
It is important to get immunized as soon as possible, as the vaccine can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to start providing protection. It is preferable to vaccinate from 1 April, as soon as the vaccine is available, well before the start of winter.
Contact your General Practice now to arrange for your 2019 influenza vaccination. For more information about influenza and influenza vaccination talk to your family doctor or practice nurse, go to www.fightflu.co.nz or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).