Flu season; what you should know
What is the Flu?
Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. Flu season lasts from autumn to spring.
The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms can last for up to one week. You may need to stay in bed until your symptoms get better. Flu affects people of all ages. In some people flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia.
How the Flu Vaccine Works
The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to fight influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated and you come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and stop you from getting sick. The flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses – it cannot give you the flu.
The flu vaccine starts to work within two weeks.
I got the vaccine last year, do I need to get it again?
The answer is yes. The flu virus changes every year and this is why you need to get a new vaccine each year. This year, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the 4 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to cause the flu this season.
Who should get it?
The HSE recommends that people in at-risk groups get the flu vaccine. They strongly recommend the vaccine if you:
- are 65 years of age and over
- are pregnant
- are a child or adult with a long-term health condition
- work in healthcare
- are a carer or household contact of anyone at increased medical risk of flu
- live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl
You should not get the flu vaccine if you have had a severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to a previous dose or any part of the vaccine.
Don’t get the flu vaccine if you are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab)
Vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.
People 10 years and over can get the vaccine from their GP or Pharmacist or Occupational Health Department.
For more information contact your GP or pharmacist or click here: https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/pubinfo/flu-vaccination/