As the season’s change, there are lots of things to get excited about. Watching the leaves turn brown and fall from the trees, getting cozy on the sofa and enjoying a hearty meal with loved ones; all the joys of autumn and winter. Unfortunately, with the cold weather also comes several downsides; getting caught in the rain, losing hours of precious sunlight and the spread of the dreaded flu. Influenza is much more than just a common cold. Aching muscles, chills, and sweats, sickness as well as persistent coughing and sneezing can leave even the healthiest person bed-ridden for up to a week. This can significantly impact a person’s ability to keep up with the responsibilities of daily living e.g. going to work, looking after children or taking care of the house and home. For those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions, the flu can lead to dangerous complications and even become life-threatening. So that you can enjoy the best that winter has to offer, it is therefore essential that you join the fight against the flu!
What are the symptoms of influenza?
Symptoms of influenza may appear quickly and spread easily through the sharing of bodily fluids e.g. coughs and sneezes. It is therefore essential to practice good hygiene during flu season e.g. by keeping surfaces clean, washing your hands and covering your mouth if you have a cold. Taking care of your general health as the nights draw in is also important to protect against flu. This may mean adding a multi-vitamin to your daily diet, wrapping up warm when you go outside and ensuring you have enough time for rest and relaxation. For those who are vulnerable, however, these protective measures are simply not enough to manage the risk of influenza.
Can I have a flu jab if I am pregnant?
The flu vaccination is highly recommended for anyone over the age of 65, pregnant women and children or adults with underlying health conditions or compromised immunity. For those who fall into these groups, coming down with flu can be dangerous. To ensure these at-risk groups stay protected, it is important for as many people around them to also have the vaccination. This stops the spread of influenza and reduces the likelihood of mutation, which can lead a virus to become stronger and vaccine-resistant. Those working in direct contact with at-risk groups are therefore also strongly advised to get immunised. This is particularly important for healthcare staff and teachers, but everyone could benefit from being protected against the flu.
There are many different strains of influenza virus and it is not possible to create vaccines for them all. It is important to understand, therefore, that the flu jab will protect you against the most current and high impact strain of influenza, however, this does not guarantee that you won’t get ill this winter. It is also important to note how the vaccine works; a very small quantity of the virus is injected into the body to provoke an autoimmune response i.e. the production of antibodies that can fight potential re-exposure to the virus in the future. Side effects of the flu jab may include symptoms of a mild cold e.g. feeling tired, hot/cold with a runny nose or cough. This is nothing to be alarmed about as the benefits of protecting against full-blown flu far outweigh having minor sniffles!
Where can I book a flu jab near me?
Booking in to get your flu jab is an easy way to look after you and your family this winter. For just £10, you can see an experienced GP who will explain everything you need to know, give you the vaccine and offer additional lifestyle guidance to keep you healthy.