Flu Immunisation now available at Meadowlands Medical
Prepare for the upcoming flu season by getting your flu vaccine. It is estimated that up to 1 in 5 Australians are infected by the flu each year. That makes for a lot of sick and miserable people! Take steps to protect your family against the flu this year.
What is the flu?
The flu is a common respiratory virus, and is very contagious. It’s spread by droplets that can travel through the air or be caught through direct contact with affected surfaces or hands. People can be infectious before they show any symptoms of the flu themselves. Common flu symptoms include fever, runny nose, coughing and sneezing, chills and the shakes, tiredness, headaches and muscle aches. It can be diagnosed with blood tests or nose and throat swabs. Treatment aims to manage the symptoms, so includes bed rest, plenty of fluids, and paracetamol for fever. Antiviral medications can reduce the severity and duration of the illness, if taken within the first 48 hrs of the start of flu symptoms.
Nothing to be sneezed at.
Although it’s common, the flu is not the same as the common cold. Influenza is a severe illness and can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, and bronchitis. Approximately 13,500 Australians over the age of 50 are hospitalised each year because of the flu, and there are more than 3,000 influenza-related deaths each year. In addition to the health-related consequences of the flu, the back pocket takes a hit, too. Many people have to take time off school or work due to falling ill with the flu, or to care for loved ones who have caught it. People face extra costs for over-the-counter and prescription medications, doctor’s visits, and hospital stays, and the flu costs the Australian Government a whopping $85 million each year!
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk of catching the flu, but certain groups of people have a greater likelihood of more severe illness and complications. These include people with certain chronic medical conditions, particularly lung and heart disease, and those with low immune systems. Pregnant women, and the very young and the very old are also more vulnerable.
How can I prevent it?
The two key ways to prevent the flu are:
Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and making sure that you wash your hands before you eat or drink are important ways to protect yourself. People who are sick should avoid being in close contact with other people – that means taking sick days from school or work, and avoiding social functions.4 Attending work whilst unwell with the flu leads to reduced productivity, and no-one in the office will thank you if they catch your flu.
Flu vaccines: who should get vaccinated?
Medical authorities recommend that all Australians older than 6 months should get an annual flu shot if they want to avoid catching the flu. People in the high-risk categories listed above are strongly recommended to get vaccinated. The two groups of people who should not receive the flu vaccine are infants under 6 months of age, and anyone who has had a life-threatening allergy/anaphylaxis to the flu vaccine, or one of its components, in the past.2 All influenza vaccine consultations at Meadowlands are bulk-billed. The flu vaccine is provided free of charge to certain ‘at risk’ individuals:4
For people who do not fit into one of these categories, the private flu vaccine is available for only $20.00 , which is not much to protect yourself from a potentially serious illness.
Book online or call us on 1300 746 447 to make an appointment to discuss the flu vaccine with your doctor at Meadowlands Medical