The flu, which is caused by the influenza virus, is a highly contagious disease that causes thousands of hospitalizations and deaths every year. The flu virus is usually prevalent during the winter months and can spread very fast in the community if precautionary methods are not taken.
The symptoms of the flu can include:
- Cough (usually dry)
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Runny nose
However, the more severe symptoms of the virus can include:
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
- Myositis (inflammation of the muscle tissues)
- Multiple organ failure
While for most people the symptoms of flu will be the general mild symptoms, there are a few high-risk groups of people for whom a flu attack can be very dangerous and potentially fatal. These are:
- Children below 5 years of age.
- Adults above 65 years of age.
- Pregnant women.
- Those with chronic conditions such as Diabetes, Asthma, Heart Disease, or HIV.
- Those with greater exposure to the virus, such as healthcare workers.
One of the most effective means of preventing the flu virus is to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is an annual vaccine since the flu virus evolves very fast and new variants can be found from time to time. Therefore, in order to keep you protected from these new variants, it is best to get the vaccination done annually. Many clinics have the flu vaccine in Bayswater, Ascot Vale, Hobsons Bay, and other areas of the country, and you can easily make an appointment to get it done.
There are many benefits to getting the flu vaccine, such as:
- Protection for yourself from illness caused by the flu virus.
- Reduces the risk of hospitalization and death.
- Helps protect women during pregnancy.
- Prevents community spread of the disease.
- Reduces the severity of the disease for those who contract it even after vaccination.
- Works as a preventive method for those suffering from chronic conditions.
How does the flu vaccine work?
Once the flu vaccine is administered to a person, the body starts producing antibodies, usually around two weeks after administration. When the flu virus attacks the body, the body’s immune system takes over, and the antibodies intercept and block the virus, and then deactivate it.
Some people can suffer from very mild side effects after taking the flu vaccine, which includes:
- Redness or irritation at the point of injection.
- Mild fever.
- Muscle ache.
- Dizziness or fainting.
Some people, however, should not take the flu vaccine, especially:
- Babies under the age of 6 months.
- Those who have shown extreme reactions to the vaccine before.
- Those with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
These severe side effects are very rare though, and the mild side effects will disappear after a day or two. Hence the benefits of getting the flu vaccine far outweigh the possible side effects.
Studies conducted by authoritative bodies conclude that flu vaccines can reduce the risk of infections up to 40-60% among the overall population during a season. However, it has been found that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary according to the type of flu virus. Factors influencing the effectiveness of the flu virus include:
- Characteristics of the person who is being vaccinated.
- If the vaccine is a match to the circulating flu virus type.
The problem for manufacturers of the flu vaccine is that the virus is always evolving and mutating, and there is no way of understanding which strain of the virus will be spreading during the next flu season. However, through extensive research and development, they update the vaccine and make new versions of it available for the community every year. This is why it is so important to get your flu vaccine without fail every year.
Many clinics can give you updated information on flu vaccines in Ascot Vale, Bayswater, and other areas, as well as information regarding new variants of the virus. It is best to always consult with a medical professional before you get your vaccinations, and you can make an appointment with a clinic for flu vaccine in Bayswater or anywhere else through online appointments which are now available. This method is an easy, safe, and convenient way of making your appointment for the flu vaccine.
While there may be questions about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine due to new variants of the virus evolving, getting vaccinated is the best way of protecting yourself, your loved ones, and the community from the dreaded influenza virus.