With flu season upon us during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s doubly important to lessen the risk of getting the flu.
In a typical year, flu season occurs from fall to early spring. The length and severity of an epidemic may vary. Some lucky individuals can get through the season flu-free.
Flu symptoms often include:
- muscle or body aches
- sore throat
- runny or blocked nose
- vomiting and diarrhoea (more common in children than adults)
The symptoms that come with the flu can keep you bedridden for a week or more. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to help protect you against flu.
Flu viruses and COVID-19 will both be spreading during autum and winter. The symptoms of flu have major overlap with symptoms of COVID-19, so the flu vaccine will be more important now more than ever.
How does the flu jab work?
The flu virus changes and adapts every year, which is why it’s so widespread and difficult to avoid. New vaccines are created and released every year to keep up with these rapid changes.
Before each new flu season, health experts predict which strains of the flu are most likely to thrive. Influenza A and B viruses are the ones that cause seasonal epidemics. They use these predictions to inform manufactures to produce the appropriate vaccines.
The flu jab works by prompting your immune system to produce antibodies. In turn, these antibodies help the body fight off the strains of flu virus present in the vaccine.
After receiving the flu jab, it takes about 2 weeks for these antibodies to fully develop.
Who needs a flu jab?
Some people may be more prone to getting the flu than others. That’s why it’s recommended that everyone 6 months of age or older should be vaccinated against the flu.
The jabs are not 100% effective in preventing the flu. But they’re the most effective method to protect against this virus and its related complications.
Certain groups are at an increased risk for getting the flu and developing potentially dangerous flu-related complications. It’s important that people in these high-risk groups are vaccinated. These groups include:
- pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after pregnancy
- children between 6 months and 5 years of age
- people 18 and under who receive aspirin therapy
- people over 65
- anyone with chronic medical conditions
- people whose body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher
- anyone living or working in a nursing home or chronic care facility
- carers of any of the above individuals
Are there any side effects to the flu jab?
Flu shots are safe for most people. Many people incorrectly assume that the flu vaccine can give them the flu. You can’t get the flu from the flu jab.
But some people may experience flu-like symptoms within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine.
Possible side effects of the flu shot include:
- low-grade fever
- swollen, red, tender area around the injection site
- chills or headache
These symptoms may occur as your body responds to the vaccine and builds antibodies that latter will help prevent illness. Symptoms are typically mild and go away within a day or two.
At Pall Mall Medical, we offer flu vaccinations for £20. Book your flu jab with us this winter by clicking here or call us on 03300 58 44 55.