Coldest month of the year brings renewed focus of Influenza threat

Coldest month of the year brings renewed focus of Influenza threat

05 July 2013

News Release

With the coldest month of the year upon us, Northern Sydney Medicare Local is sending a reminder to high-risk community members to consider talking to their GP about the flu virus and vaccination.

High-risk members of the community include people suffering from chronic illnesses, aged over 65, pregnant women and children.

Each year, the call for vaccination against the newest strain of influenza starts as early as March, however with the threat seemingly months away, some members of the community may forget to book an appointment with their GP for the jab.

Once the flu strikes, because it is a virus and not an infection caused by bacteria, antibiotics are unable to assist in the treatment. Prevention, through vaccination, provides the best chance of not getting the flu virus.

What is the Flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory system and mainly spreads from person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing or talking, and by touching a persons hands, surface or object.

High-risk groups need to be extra vigilant against the virus as complications, including pneumonia and bronchitis can lead to hospitalisation, and in some cases even death. The flu can also make underlying medical conditions worse.

3 Facts about the Flu Vaccine
1. There is no live virus in the flu shot. Which means its not possible to get the flu from having the injection. However because normal immunity takes approximately two weeks to work, protection against the flu will not occur immediately after vaccination meaning it is still possible to catch it in this time.

2. The composition of the vaccine changes every year.

3. The flu shot is safe for pregnant women at all stages of their pregnancy.

The flu vaccine is free to pregnant women, people over the age of 65, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander over the age of 15, or for people that have a condition such as diabetes, renal failure or heart disease that puts you at risk of severe flu. Visit www. immunise.health.gov.au.

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Source: The above information was prepared with the help of information obtained from the Australian Governments Department of Health and Ageing website http://www.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/

About Northern Sydney Medicare Local
Northern Sydney Medicare Local (NSML) is a local not-for-profit health organisation working to make it easier for people in Hornsby, Ryde, Ku-ring-gai and Hunters Hill to access the health services they need. For more information on Northern Sydney Medicare Local, visit www.nsml.com.au.