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Cape Byron Medical Centre

FLU VACCINE WITH DR DAVID MOSS

What is the flu?

Technically known as influenza, it is a dangerous virus.

– It is easily spread between people, from cough, contact and from common surfaces.
– It makes you very sick, and can cause serious illness and death, including in children.
– It causes 3,500 deaths in Australia each year, and 18,000 hospitalisations.
– Influenza causes substantial illness in children every year. Influenza is the leading cause of hospitalisation among Australian children under five years of age. Children are much more likely to contract influenza (20-50% compared with 10-30% in adults), with up to 70% of children contracting the virus during pandemic years. Healthy children under five years are more likely than any other age group to be hospitalised (1,500 each year) for influenza complications.

How do you protect against influenza?

The ‘Flu Shot’ is an immunisation and should be given by your GP, not the chemist
It should be given in late April to allow coverage for the ‘flu’ season into late winter.

How does the flu vaccine work?

The flu vaccine stimulates your immune system to make antibodies that attack the flu virus.
Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs, such as viruses, that have invaded your blood. After you’ve had the flu shot, if get the flu virus your immune system will recognise the virus and produce antibodies to fight it.
It will take up to two weeks for your immunity to build up after the flu shot.

Who should get the Flu Shot?

Everyone (children especially children).

How much does the flu vaccine cost?

In Australia, the vaccine is provided for free for people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults, and people with certain medical conditions which increase the risk of complications from influenza such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes.
It costs approx. $15, is safe (in that you cannot possibly get the flu from the shot), and effective.
Compare that to the cost of contracting influenza: cost of over the counter medicines,lost wages through illness or having to care for sick children, missing holidays, giving influenza to someone else (eg child, elderly), serious illness, or even death.