Influenza (‘flu’) is a contagious respiratory infection caused by several strains of influenza virus. It is estimated by the WHO that each year flu causes 3 to 5 million severe infections and around half a million deaths worldwide; averaged out over a year that is more than 1,000 deaths per day.
The best way to prevent flu is to take the vaccine each year and to follow good hand sanitation measures such as avoiding touching your face, washing your hands often, maintaining a safe (1 metre) distance from people who are ill, not eating food with your hands, etc.
Persons recommended to take the vaccine are those who are most at risk from getting severe illness from the flu virus, ie:
- those aged 60 years and above
- people of any age with underlying health conditions *
- people of any age with weakened immune systems **
- pregnant women
The vaccine is not recommended if you have ever had a neurological condition called Guillain- Barre Syndrome or if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine of any kind. In these instances? we advise that you discuss the matter with a healthcare provider.
People who are allergic to eggs may still take the vaccine if the allergic reaction was a only skin rash but again this should be carefully discussed with a healthcare provider first.
* especially conditions such as kidney or liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other lung diseases
** such as cancer patients, people taking steroids or other immunosuppressing medications, HIV patients
If you are unsure whether you should get the vaccine or not then please phone us for individual advice.