Seasonal flu is a highly infectious viral illness of the respiratory tract that can also be life threatening. It can cause a serious illness which can cause complications in people with long-term medical conditions, those aged 65 or over and pregnant woman.
The annual flu vaccine contains three common influenza virus strains. The flu virus changes each year which is why a new vaccine has to be given each year. The vaccine helps the person’s immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. When someone who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the virus these antibodies attack the virus. The flu vaccines have been given for more than 60 years to millions of people worldwide. Side effects are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare.
The vaccination is strongly recommended for
- Persons aged 65 or over.
- Those with a long-term medical condition such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Diabetes, heart, kidney or lung diseases.
- People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment
- Persons with a body mass index over 40.
- Pregnant women.
- Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
- Health care workers and carers.
- The vaccine should be taken from September and will start to work in two weeks. The most common side effects will be mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Some people may have mild sweating and shivering but this is not flu and will past after a day or two.
To get the vaccination people aged 18 or older may attend their GP or pharmacist. If you have a medical card or GP visit card the vaccine and consultation are free.
For more information visit www.immunisation.ie