It’s Flu Season! Influenza, also known as the flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a group of viruses. Influenza infection usually has different symptoms and causes a more severe illness than most other common viral respiratory infections and may be a life-threatening infection in certain people. Don’t confuse the flu with the common cold.
Think this wont happen to you?
Here are a few examples of how people have been affected by the flu.
Harry was 10 months old when he got a high fever, cough, and runny nose. What his parents thought had started as a cold ended up with a week long admission to hospital. His parents felt so scared watching him struggle to breath and just lying there flat and not moving.
Harry had influenza. His parents hadn’t known there was a vaccination available to reduce the severity of illness or better still stop him getting flu.
Penny was 74 years old when she got a fever, whole body aches and shortness of breath. She had influenza and was admitted to hospital for 2 weeks with pneumonia and a had subsequent stroke as a complication of the flu. Penny had never got sick before and didn’t think she needed a vaccination to protect her from the flu. She didn’t realise that as she was aged over 65 years that she had a six-times higher risk of dying from the flu and related complications. Penny has got a flu vaccination every year since. Penny is now 85 and hasn’t had the flu again.
Who is most at risk?
- Older adults (65+)
- Indigenous Australians (6 months and over)
- Pregnant Women
- Children aged under 5 years of age
- People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions that can lead to complications from influenza.
Influenza causes considerable illness in children every year, and they are more likely to contract flu than other at-risk groups with up to 70% of children getting it. Of all vaccine preventable diseases, influenza is the leading cause of hospitalisation among Australian children under five years of age. Healthy children under five years are more likely to be hospitalised for complications more than any other age group, with nearly 1,500 children admitted each year. Not only are infection rates higher in children, but children also contribute significantly to flu transmission in the community.
Some of the complications of influenza include;
- acute bronchitis
- sinus problems and ear infections
- cardiovascular complications, including myocarditis and pericarditis
- brain dysfunction such as encephalitis and/or encephalopathy
- severe dehydration
- those who are 65 years and over have an increase risk of heart attack and stroke in the first two weeks of infection
- in some cases, flu complications lead to death
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu
Annual vaccination against influenza is recommended for all Australians who are 6 months of age or older.
Flu vaccines are administered annually because
- The viruses change over time
- Protection from the vaccine starts to reduce after several months. The best time to get vaccinated is in April or May, so that you have the most protection in the winter months.
Protect yourself and your family. Get vaccinated. Book online today