Why men should get the flu vaccine…
Getting your flu vaccine is now more convenient that ever before
Ever chat with your friends about the flu vaccine? Do you all get it? If not, why? In January 2017, the Health Service Executive issued a statement indicating that uptake on the vaccine was “nowhere near” where it ought to be. Why do you think that is? Flu is responsible for 200-500 deaths a year in Ireland and can even reach the 1000s in an epidemic. So why have we a low uptake on the vaccine?
Why do men avoid the vaccine?
We get a lot of men through the doors of our pharmacies, who don’t believe in the vaccine, which is fine but it’s time to expose the myths around the vaccination. Here’s the two most common misconceptions we find among men, and the truth behind them
1.“I don’t need the vaccine, I’ve never had the flu”
Luckily many of us have never had the flu and if you are not in the at risk category getting the flu will probably just result in a few days in bed with fatigue, aches and pains, nasal congestion and a bad cough. However if you are in one of the at risk categories getting the flu can result in serious illness, in some cases require a stay in hospital and may even be life threatening. For this reason if you are in one of the at risk categories you should get the flu vaccine every year.
2.“I don’t want the vaccine because it will give me the flu”
Impossible. The vaccine can’t give you the flu. The most common side effects will be mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Some people may have mild sweating and shivering as their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not flu and will pass after a day or so.
At Risk Groups
- Persons aged 65 and older
- Those with long term medical conditions such as diabetes and chronic heart, kidney, lung or Neurological disease
- People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment including all cancer patients
- Persons with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40
- Pregnant women (at any stage in pregnancy)
- Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
- People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs
- Health care workers
Since October 2011, pharmacists in Ireland have been authorised to administer the seasonal influenza vaccine. These additions to the pharmacists’ role have been widely welcomed, with former Minister for Health and current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar saying that “pharmacy-based vaccine is an excellent example of safely making health services more accessible to patients”. There has also been a marked increase in vaccine uptake, since its introduction.
With thanks to Haven pharmacy